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SURVEY  ASSOCIATES,  Inc. 

Formerly  Charities  Fabrication  Committee 
PUBLISHERS  FOR  THE  RUSSELL  SAGE  FOUNDATION 

105  EAST  226.  STREET,  NEW  YORK 


RUSSELLSAGE 
FOUNDATION 


WOMEN  IN  THE 
BOOKBINDING  TRADE 


BY 

MARY  VAN  KLEECK 
i'  » 

SECRETARY  COMMITTEE  ON  WOMEN  S  WORK 
RUSSELL  SAGE  FOUNDATION 


INTRODUCTION 
BY  HENRY  R.  SEAGER 

PROFESSOR  OF  POLITICAL  ECONOMY 
COLUMBIA  UNIVERSITY 


N  EW    YORK 
SURVEY   ASSC  CM  A  T  E,S  , 
MGMXSH.. 


Copyright,  1913,  by 
THE  RUSSELL  SAGE  FOUNDATION 


PRESS  OF  WM.   F.   FELL  CO. 
PHILADELPHIA 


INTRODUCTION 

THE  time  has  gone  by  when  any  large 
number  of  intelligent  persons  attempts  to 
justify  present  conditions  by  urging  that 
they  are  better  than  those  of  the  past,  or  that, 
if  we  will  only  be  patient,  the  "survival  of  the 
fittest,"  and  the  "elimination  of  the  unfit,"  that 
are  believed  to  be  in  progress,  will  make  those  of 
the  future  still  better.  However  great  our  faith 
in  the  beneficence  of  the  evolutionary  process, 
we  have  learned  that  it  can  be  both  hastened  in 
its  operation  and  made  more  certain  in  its  results 
by  deliberate  and  purposeful  human  action. 
Through  public  sanitation  and  labor  legislation 
the  plane  on  which  the  struggle  for  existence  is 
carried  on  may  be  raised  to  the  advantage  of  all 
concerned.  On  the  other  hand,  isolation  of  the 
insane,  the  feeble-minded,  and  other  defectives 
may  eliminate  in  one  generation  "unfit"  lines  of 
heredity  which  might  otherwise  be  perpetuated 
indefinitely. 

But  to  accomplish  the  task  of  improving  social 
and  industrial  conditions  by  deliberate  and  pur- 
poseful action,  we  must  first  have  knowledge  of 
the  conditions  to  be  improved.  This  was  the 
thought  which  caused  editors  of  Charities  and  the 


259923 


INTRODUCTION 

Commons  to  organize  and  carry  out  and  the  Russell 
Sage  Foundation  to  supply  the  funds  for  the  epoch- 
making  Pittsburgh  Survey.  It  was  the  same 
thought  which  led  the  Foundation  later  to  es- 
tablish the  Committee  on  Women's  Work,  with 
Miss  Mary  Van  Kleeck  as  secretary.  The  first 
fruit  of  the  patient  and  careful  investigations 
which  are  being  made  by  that  Committee  is  the 
present  volume. 

There  are  several  reasons  why  it  is  advantageous 
to  study  women  in  industry  as  though  they  con- 
stituted a  distinct  class  and  their  problem  was  a 
distinct  problem.  In  the  first  place,  the  proportion 
of  women  who  enter  gainful  employments  is  con- 
stantly growing.  This  gives  rise  to  special  ques- 
tions as  to  the  effect  of  the  increasing  employment 
of  girls  and  women  on  marriage  and  birth  rates, 
the  reaction  of  the  employment  of  married  women 
on  the  conditions  of  home  life  and  particularly 
on  the  rearing  of  children,  and  the  influence  of 
the  competition  of  women  workers  on  the  wages 
of  men.  We  do  not  have  similar  problems  for 
men  because  their  gainful  employment  has  long 
been  an  established  fact  to  which  our  whole  social 
life  has  become  adjusted. 

In  the  second  place,  there  can  be  no  doubt 
that  the  condition  of  women  wage-earners  is  in 
many  respects  even  less  satisfactory  than  that 
of  men.  The  range  of  skilled  occupations  open 
to  them  is  smaller.  Those  who  enter  gainful 
employments  as  girls  of  from  fourteen  to  eighteen, 

vi 


INTRODUCTION 

may  marry  before  they  reach  the  age  of  twenty- 
five.  With  this  possibility  before  them  they  have 
less  incentive  than  boys  to  learn  trades.  The 
consequence  of  these  two  facts,  re-enforced  by  the 
inferior  strength  of  women,  is  that  they  are  able 
to  command  wages  which  average  only  about 
one-half  those  that  are  paid  to  men.  This  means 
for  most  girls  and  women  who  have  to  be  self- 
supporting  a  heart-breaking  and  health-destroying 
struggle.  Underpay  and  its  correlative  overwork 
are  the  common  lot.  The  easy  escape  from  these 
hard  conditions  which  prostitution  appears  to  offer 
in  a  large  city  further  differentiates  her  problem 
from'  that  of  her  working  brothers. 

Finally,  and  as  a  consequence  of  these  reasons, 
we  have  the  putting  forward  of  a  protective  pro- 
gram for  women  wage-earners  which  would  seem 
to  most  people  unnecessary,  or  at  best  premature, 
if  proposed  for  men.  Now  that  the  Supreme 
Court  of  the  United  States  has  placed  the  stamp 
of  its  approval  on  this  procedure  by  declaring 
that  woman's  "physical  nature  and  the  evil  effects 
of  overwork  upon  her  and  her  future  children 
justify  legislation  to  protect  her  from  the  greed 
as  well  as  the  passion  of  men,"  the  legislative 
treatment  of  women  workers  is  likely  for  many 
years  to  come  to  be  differentiated  from  that  applied 
to  men.  The  Russell  Sage  Foundation  thus  acted 
wisely  when  it  decided  to  create  a  special  depart- 
ment on  Women's  Work.  By  so  doing  it  has 
prepared  itself  to  attack  one  of  the  worst  phases  of 

vii 


INTRODUCTION 

the  labor  problem — the  phase,  at  the  same  time,  in 
connection  with  which  efforts  toward  a  solution 
are  most  certain  to  command  public,  legislative, 
and  judicial  support. 

The  bookbinding  trade  was  chosen  first  for 
study  because  it  is  one  of  the  most  important 
trades  for  women  in  New  York  City,  and  also  in 
many  respects  a  typical  one.  As  Miss  Van  Kleeck 
explains,  it  affords  employment  to  every  grade 
of  woman  worker  from  the  skilled  craftsman  who 
does  artistic  binding  by  hand  to  the  machine 
operator,  the  hand  folder,  the  wrapper,  and  the 
errand  girl.  The  competition  in  it  between  out- 
going hand  processes  and  incoming  machine  proc- 
esses is  incessant.  In  some  branches  work  is 
regular;  in  others  it  is  highly  irregular,  overtime 
and  free  days  occurring  in  the  same  week.  Finally, 
there  is  a  union  in  the  trade  to  which  some  of  the 
women  employes  belong;  while  most  of  the  women 
are  unorganized  and  little  impressed  by  the  ad- 
vantages of  organization.  Bookbinding  in  New 
York  City  thus  presents  in  miniature  most  of  the 
important  problems  which  confront  women  wage- 
earners. 

The  present  report  is  the  first  of  a  series  of 
studies  which  will  serve  to  place  before  the  people 
of  the  United  States  authoritative  information  in 
regard  to  the  conditions  under  which  women  wage- 
earners  carry  on  their  work  and  the  wages  which 
they  receive.  Volumes  treating  of  the  Makers  of 

viii 


INTRODUCTION 

Artificial  Flowers  and  of  Women  and  Girls  in  the 
Public  Evening  Schools  of  New  York  City  are 
nearly  ready.  As  these  are  published  readers  will 
be  able  to  get  a  comparative  view  of  conditions 
in  different  trades,  the  lack  of  which  inevitably 
weakens  the  force  of  the  conclusions  that  may  be 
drawn  from  the  study  of  any  single  trade. 

Knowledge  of  existing  conditions  is  the  necessary 
preliminary  to  a  reform  of  those  conditions;  but 
it  is  the  reform  and  not  the  knowledge  that  must 
ever  be  the  chief  concern  of  an  organization  like 
the  Russell  Sage  Foundation.  As  the  information 
contained  in  the  Pittsburgh  Survey  gave  a  tremen- 
dous impetus  to  movements  for  civic  and  industrial 
betterment  not  only  in  that  city  but  in  the  whole 
state  of  Pennsylvania,  so  the  facts  presented  in 
this  volume  about  women  employed  in  book- 
binderies  should  afford  a  basis  for  effective  agita- 
tion for  the  reforms  most  urgently  called  for. 
Of  these,  none  seem  to  stand  out  more  clearly 
than  an  effective  prohibition  on  the  employment 
of  women  at  night  and  the  regulation  of  the  em- 
ployment of  girls  from  fourteen  to  eighteen  so 
that  they  will  be  enabled  to  learn  the  trade  in 
which  they  are  engaged  and  not  be  mere  drifters, 
regular  in  nothing  except  in  frequent  changes 
from  employer  to  employer  and  prolonged  periods 
of  unemployment,  and  certain  of  nothing  except 
that  their  wages  will  never  be  sufficient  to  enable 
them  to  be  adequately  self-supporting. 

ix 


COMMITTEE  ON  WOMEN'S  WORK  OF  THE 
RUSSELL  SAGE  FOUNDATION 

HENRY  R.  SEAGER,  Chairman 
Miss  LILIAN  BRANDT 
SAMUEL  McCuNE  LINDSAY 
MRS.  HENRY  R.  SEAGER 
ANTONIO  STELLA,  M.D. 
Miss  ELLEN  J.  STONE 
LAWRENCE  VEILLER 
MRS.  LAWRENCE  VEILLER 


XII 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS 

PAGE 

INTRODUCTION.     By  Henry  R.  Seager  v 

LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIONS xv 

LIST  OF  TABLES     . xvii 

I.  Introductory i 

1 1 .  The  Bookbinding  Trade 13 

III.  Women's  Work  in  the  Binderies    ...  38 

IV.  Wages  and  Home  Conditions  ....  72 

.  V.  Irregularity  of  Employment    .       .       .       .  101 

VI.  Overtime  and  the  Factory  Laws    .       .       .133 

VII.  Collective  Bargaining  in  the  Bindery  Trade  169 

VIII.  Teaching  Girls  the  Trade 194 

IX.  Summary  and  Outlook 219 

APPENDICES 

A.  Outline  of   Investigation 239 

B.  Supplementary  Statistics 249 

C.  Sixty-Hour    Restriction.     Held  to  be  Con- 

stitutional     256 

INDEX  261 


Xlll 


LIST   OF    ILLUSTRATIONS 

i 

PAGE 


Gold  Leaf  Layers ,  -5 

A  Stamper I7^ 

Drop-roll  Folding  Machine  ,84 

Automatic  Folding  Machine      .       .       .  .        ]    ,84 

Hand  Folders ,9g 

The  Point  Folding  Machine       .               .  ,8 


XVI 


LIST  OF  TABLES 

TABLE  PAGE 

1 .  Binderies  in  Manhattan,  by  nature  of  products, 

1910 26 

2.  Number  of  persons  engaged  in  bookbinding  in 

the  United  States,  by  decades.  1850-1900  .     29 

3.  Distribution  of  women  bookbinders.   United 

States,  1900 31 

4.  Women   employed   in  bookbinding  in   Man- 

hattan in  1910,  by  principal  product  of 
binderies  and  number  of  women  employed  33 

5.  Nativity  and  nativity  of  parents  of  women 

employed  in  bookbinding,  New  York  City    35 

6.  Weekly  wages  of  women  employed  in  book- 

binding by  years  of  employment  in  the 
trade 75 

7.  Weekly    earnings    of    women    employed    in 

bookbinding  during  first  week  of  employ- 
ment in  bookbinding 76 

8.  Binderies  employing  women   as   learners   by 

weekly  wages  of  learners,  and  the  minimum 
age  at  which  they  are  employed  ...  78 

9.  Comparative   weekly   earnings   of   men    and 

women  employed  in  bookbinding  and  of 
women  in  all  manufacturing  industries. 
New  York  state,  1905 79 

10.  Approximate  yearly  income  of  women   em- 

ployed in  bookbinding,  by  ages     ...     85 

1 1 .  Family  status  of  women  employed  in  book- 

binding       87 

xvii 


LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIONS 
Photographs  by  Lewis  W.  Hine 

FACING 
PAGE 

Wire-stitching Frontispiece 

Pasting  Machine 14 

Edge  Gilders 14 

Sewing  Books  by  Hand 24 

Sewing  Books  by  Machine 24 

Case  Makers 42 

Gathering  and  Wire-stitching  Machine    ...     42 

Gathering  by  Hand 54 

Gathering  Machine 54 

Press  and  Plow  Machine 68 

Trimming  Magazines 68 

Folding  by  Hand 82 

Folding  and  Gathering 82 

Covering  Magazines  by  Machine      ....     92 

Gathering  Machine 92 

Box  Girls 108 

Men  Case-making  and  Girls  Labeling      .       .       .108 

Collating 122 

Gathering  Machine 122 

Wire-stitchers.  Artificial  Light  all  Day    .       .       .140 
One  End  of  a  Crowded  Bindery        .       .       .       .140 

A  Crowded  Workroom 1 50 

Accumulated  Stock  Gathering  Dust        .       .       .150 
Midnight  in  a  Magazine  Bindery      .       .       .       .160 

The  Midnight  Lunch  Hour 160 

xv 


LIST   OF    ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING 

Gold  Leaf  Layers ,^5 

A  Stamper I76 

Drop-roll  Folding  Machine  ,84 

Automatic  Folding  Machine      ...  ^4 

Hand  Folders       ....  108 

The  Point  Folding  Machine       .  ,98 


XVI 


LIST  OF  TABLES 

FABLE  PAGE 

1 .  Binderies  in  Manhattan,  by  nature  of  products, 

1910 26 

2.  Number  of  persons  engaged  in  bookbinding  in 

the  United  States,  by  decades.  1850-1900  .     29 

3.  Distribution  of  women  bookbinders.   United 

States,  1900 31 

4.  Women   employed   in   bookbinding  in   Man- 

hattan in  1910,  by  principal  product  of 
binderies  and  number  of  women  employed  33 

5.  Nativity  and  nativity  of  parents  of  women 

employed  in  bookbinding,  New  York  City     35 

6.  Weekly  wages  of  women  employed  in  book- 

binding by  years  of  employment  in  the 
trade 75 

7.  Weekly    earnings    of    women    employed    in 

bookbinding  during  first  week  of  employ- 
ment in  bookbinding 76 

8.  Binderies  employing  women  as  learners  by 

weekly  wages  of  learners,  and  the  minimum 
age  at  which  they  are  employed  ...  78 

9.  Comparative   weekly   earnings   of   men    and 

women  employed  in  bookbinding  and  of 
women  in  all  manufacturing  industries. 
New  York  state,  1905 79 

10.  Approximate  yearly  income  of  women  em- 

ployed in  bookbinding,  by  ages     ...     85 

1 1 .  Family  status  of  women  employed  in  book- 

binding       87 

xvii 


LIST   OF   TABLES 

TABLE  PAGE 

12.  Persons  per  room  in  families  of  women  em- 

ployed in  bookbinding 97 

13.  Length   of  employment   of  201    women   em- 

ployed in  bookbinding 98 

14.  Maximum   number   of   women    employed   in 

bookbinding  in  Manhattan,  by  the  season 
of  greatest  activity  of  the  establishments  in 
which  they  are  employed  .  .  .  .104 

15.  Bookbinding  establishments  in  Manhattan,  by 

season  of  greatest  activity      .       .       .       .105 

1 6.  Proportion    of    women    employed    in    book- 

binding "laid  off"  in  dull  season  in  establish- 
ments in  Manhattan 107 

17.  Processes    mentioned    in    advertisements    for 

bindery  women  in  New  York  World,  on 
Sundays  and  Wednesdays,  from  July  i, 
1908,  to  June  30,  1909 108 

1 8.  Advertisements  for  bindery  women  in  the  New 

York  World,  on  Sundays  and  Wednesdays 
from  July  i,  1908,  to  June  30,  1909,  by 
month  and  branch  of  trade  .  .  .  .110 

19.  Reasons    for    leaving   positions   in    binderies 

as  stated  by  women  employed  in  book- 
binding   112 

20.  Length  of  time  for  which  women  were  em- 

ployed in  latest  position  in  bookbinding      .    113 

21.  Number  of  positions   held   in   past  year  by 

women  employed  in  bookbinding  at  time 
of  investigation 114 

22.  Periods  for  which  women  employed  in  book- 

binding were  idle  after  leaving  positions     .    115 

23.  Time  lost  in  the  past  year  from  all  causes  by 

women  employed  in  bookbinding  .       .       .117 

xviii 


LIST   OF  TABLES 

TABLE  PAGE 

24.  Time  lost  in  past  year  because  of  slack  season, 

by  women  employed  in  bookbinding    .       .118 

25.  Means   by   which   women   find    positions   in 

bookbinding  establishments   .       .       .        .125 

26.  Daily   hours   of   work   of   women    employed 

in  bookbinding 138 

27.  Weekly  hours  of  work  of  women  employed  in 

bookbinding 139 

28.  Violations  in   bookbinding  establishments  of 

law  restricting  hours  of  work  for  women 
and  girls 141 


APPENDIX  B 

SUPPLEMENTARY  STATISTICS 

A.  Schools  previously  attended  by  144  women 

employed  in  bookbinding  and  by  women  in 
all  trades  attending  public  evening  schools, 
New  York  City,  1910-191 1  ....  250 

B.  Last  day  school  attended  by  women  employed 

in  bookbinding  and  by  women  in  all  trades 
attending  public  evening  schools,  New  York 
City,  1910-1911 250 

C.  Years  of  attendance  at  day  school  of  women 

employed  in  bookbinding  and  of  women  in 
all  trades  attending  public  evening  schools, 
New  York  City,  1910-191 1  ....  251 

D.  Age  at  leaving  day  school  of  women  employed 

in  bookbinding  and  of  women  in  all  trades 
attending  public  evening  schools,  New  York 

City,  1910-191 1 251 

xix 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

week  reported  their  'longest  day's*  laborVas 
2oX,  22>^,  and  24^  hours.  These  'long  days' 
occurred  once,  and  sometimes  twice,  a  week  for  a 
period  of  16  to  26  weeks,  except  in  the  case  of  the 
girl  who  worked  24^  hours.  Her  usual  long  day 
was  20^4  hours,  but  she  had  worked  24^  twice 
in  21  weeks/'  Two  of  these  girls  were  not  yet 
twenty-one  years  old. 

It  would  appear,  therefore,  that  in  the  twenty 
years  intervening  between  these  two  official  re- 
ports, the  overtime  work  required  of  women  in 
bookbinding  had  not  been  lessened.  But  now  the 
public  is  beginning  to  display  a  keener  interest  in 
the  conditions  of  employment  of  women,  and  a 
thorough  investigation  of  a  trade  in  which  such 
flagrant  instances  of  overwork  are  officially  recorded 
should  help  to  arouse  the  community  to  a  fuller 
sense  of  its  responsibility  for  the  welfare  of  wage- 
earning  girls.  This  volume  is  the  result  of  such 
an  investigation  made  by  the  Committee  on 
Women's  Work  of  the  Russell  Sage  Founda- 
tion. 

The  significance  of  the  investigation  is  increased 
by  the  varied  aspects  of  the  bookbinding  industry, 
and  by  its  concentration  and  importance  in  New 
York.f  The  United  States  census  reports  show 
that  in  1900  more  than  15,000  women  were  en- 
gaged in  the  bindery  trade  and  its  allied  occupa- 

*  In  binderies  where  such  schedules  of  hours  prevail,  the  phrase 
"long  day"  is  commonly  used  to  refer  to  the  long  periods  of  work, 
f  See  Chapter  I,  p.  32. 

2 


INTRODUCTORY 

tions  throughout  the  country.*  More  than  26 
per  cent  of  these  were  employed  in  New  York  City. 
Except  for  the  large  groups  of  women  in  the  gar- 
ment industries — including  dressmaking,  seam- 
stress work,  tailoring,  and  millinery — bookbinding 
ranks  second  only  to  cigar  making  as  a  trade  for 
women  in  this  city.  In  no  other  trade  in  New 
York  are  the  numbers  of  men  and  women  so 
nearly  equal.  None  illustrates  better  the  sur- 
vival of  century  old  methods  side  by  side  with  the 
newest  inventions.  None  can  show  more  strik- 
ingly the  contrast  between  the  artist  craftsman  and 
the  worker  who  automatically  repeats  a  single 
process,  both  of  whom  are  called  bookbinders. 
Few  occupations  reveal  more  clearly  the  effect  of 
changing  processes  and  changing  machines.  In 
none  can  more  marked  instances  be  found  of  un- 
equal distribution  of  work  through  the  hours  of 
the  day  or  the  months  of  the  year. 

Bookbinding,  however,  is  by  no  means  the  most 
undesirable  of  occupations  for  women.  Its  con- 
ditions are  important  not  because  they  are  unique 
but  because  they  illustrate  concretely  problems 
common  to  many  other  industries.  It  is  not  in 
binderies  alone  that  conditions  change  rapidly; 
that  machines  cause  a  reorganization  of  work  and 
then  give  place  to  new  inventions  involving  further 
reorganization;  that  speed  is  an  essential  require- 
ment; that  specialization  is  the  custom,  weakening 

*  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.     Special  Reports,  Occupa- 
tions, p.  Hi. 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

by  continual  repetition  of  one  process  that  power  of 
adjustment  so  vital  to  success  in  a  changing  in- 
dustrial environment ;  that  women  work  exhaust- 
ingly  long  hours  in  the  busy  season;  that  irregu- 
larity of  employment  during  the  dull  season  com- 
pels the  worker  to  forego  all  or  part  of  her  wages, 
when  even  in  the  busy  season  the  income  of  the 
majority  of  women  employes  is  insufficient  for 
self-support.  Conditions  like  these  would  compel 
attention  even  if  they  occurred  in  but  one  occu- 
pation. When  it  is  known  that  they  affect  the 
welfare  of  young  girls  and  women  in  many  differ- 
ent wage-earning  pursuits,  their  importance  is 
greatly  increased.  To  analyze  the  facts  about 
the  bindery  trade,  to  discover  the  constructive 
forces  potent  in  the  industry,  to  disclose  oppor- 
tunities for  further  improvements  by  employers, 
workers,  and  the  community,  and  to  make  this 
knowledge  common  property  should  point  the 
way  toward  changing  the  lot  of  women  in  many 
industries  in  which  similar  conditions  exist. 

Many  books  have  been  written  on  bookbinding 
as  a  craft,  but  not  one  has  been  found  which  con- 
tains facts  regarding  conditions  of  employment. 
The  International  Bookbinder,  which  describes  itself 
as  "a  journal  devoted  to  the  interests  of  the  book- 
binders of  the  United  States  and  Canada/'  is  a 
chronicle  of  events  in  the  workers'  trade  union. 
The  United  States  census  gives  the  numerical  out- 
lines of  the  industry,  and  contains  some  data  about 
wages,  regularity  of  employment,  and  nationality 


INTRODUCTORY 

and  age  of  the  workers,  but  the  figures  are  confused 
by  counting  as  bookbinding  and  blankbook  mak- 
ing* several  minor  occupations,  such  as  book 
stamping,  chromo  and  show-card  mounting,  map 
publishing,  line  ruling,  and  the  making  of  paper 
tablets,  sample  cards,  and  show  cards,  whose  con- 
ditions do  not  resemble  the  real  bindery  trade. 
The  reports  of  the  New  York  State  Department  of 
Labor  give  the  number  of  establishments  in  the 
state  and  city  and  their  size,  the  number  of  men, 
women,  and  children  employed,  the  normal  hours 
of  labor  of  the  workers  as  a  whole,!  and  the  number 
and  results  of  inspections  and  prosecutions. 

Important  as  are  these  sources  of  information, 
the  facts  which  they  present  are  incomplete  as  a 
basis  for  a  study  of  women  workers.  From  them 
we  learn  nothing  about  the  organization  of  the 
workroom  force  nor  the  processes  carried  on  by 
women.  They  give  no  information  about  wages  in 
relation  to  length  of  experience,  about  the  methods 
of  training  workers,  or  about  the  previous  schooling 
of  the  girls  who  enter  the  industry.  They  contain 
no  facts  about  a  girl's  trade  career,  the  necessity 
for  frequent  change  from  one  shop  to  another,  or 
from  one  occupation  to  another;  the  uncertainty 
of  the  seasons  or  the  reasons  for  irregular  employ- 
ment. They  do  not  show  the  home  responsibilities 
of  bindery  girls  nor  their  attitude  toward  their 
work.  They  do  not  give  the  facts  about  overtime. 

*  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.  Manufactures,  Vol.  VII, 
p.  693.  t  Hours  are  not  reported  separately  for  women  however. 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

They  do  not  show  differences  as  between  establish- 
ments or  between  diverse  branches  of  the  trade. 
Thus,  although  the  official  figures  throw  light  on 
the  extent  of  the  industry,  its  location,  and  certain  of 
its  external  characteristics,  nevertheless,  to  under- 
stand how  women  workers  fare  in  this  occupation, 
it  was  necessary  to  observe  shop  conditions  at  first 
hand,  to  interview  employers,  and  to  know  a  number 
of  bindery  women  personally  in  their  own  homes. 

The  foundation  of  this  report  was  the  industrial 
history  of  201  women  workers  in  the  trade,  com- 
bined with  data  secured  from  all  the  binderies  in 
Manhattan.  The  main  subjects  on  which  informa- 
tion was  sought  in  the  interviews  with  employers 
and  workers  were  the  processes  of  work  done  by 
women  in  the  various  branches  of  the  trade,  irreg- 
ularity of  employment,  hours  of  work,  the  enforce- 
ment of  factory  laws,  wages,  home  responsibilities, 
the  activity  of  the  trade  union  and  the  attitude  of 
women  workers  and  employers  toward  it,  and  the 
methods  of  teaching  girls  the  trade.  Three  record 
cards,*  5x8  inches  in  size,were  used  in  the  field  work, 
one  for  the  record  of  a  worker,  one  for  the  record  of 
a  workshop,  and  one  for  the  worker's  report  of 
conditions  in  the  shop  in  which  she  was  employed. 

A  brief  outline  of  the  sources  of  names  and  ad- 
dresses, and  the  methods  of  interviewing,  is  neces- 
sary to  show  how  the  detailed  information  asked 
for  was  secured.  The  field  work  was  begun  in  co- 

*  See  Appendix  A,  pp.  239-248,  for  outline  of  investigation,  and 
facsimiles  of  cards. 


INTRODUCTORY 

operation  with  the  Alliance  Employment  Bureau, 
a  philanthropic  agency,  managed  by  representa- 
tives of  social  settlements  and  working  girls'  clubs, 
which  undertakes  to  find  employment  for  girls  in 
trades  and  offices.  The  Bureau  had  from  time  to 
time  received  applications  for  work  from  women 
who  had  had  experience  in  the  bindery  trade  or  who 
wished  to  learn  it.  On  the  other  hand,  it  had  fre- 
quently been  asked  by  employers  to  supply  them 
with  bindery  workers.  It  is  the  policy  of  this 
agency  to  investigate  work-places  before  sending 
applicants  to  them,  and  the  managers  believed 
that  a  thorough  study  of  binderies  would  yield  the 
information  needed  to  enable  them  to  place  girls 
in  establishments  where  good  conditions  prevail. 
Thus,  while  the  larger  purpose  of  the  investigation 
was  to  gather  evidence  regarding  conditions  in  the 
industry  as  they  affect  women  workers,  the  early 
part  of  the  inquiry  was  designed  to  be  of  immediate 
use  in  the  daily  placement  work  of  the  Alliance 
Employment  Bureau.  This  latter  object  afforded 
a  reason  for  seeking  interviews  and  enabled  the 
investigators,  in  visiting  both  establishments  and 
workers,  to  act  as  agents  of  the  Bureau. 

This  preliminary,  co-operative  investigation  was 
made  between  August  i,  1908,  and  August  i,  1909, 
while  the  Committee  on  Women's  Work  was  a 
department  of  the  Alliance  Employment  Bureau. 
The  study  was  completed  in  the  winter  and  spring 
of  1910-11,  when  employers  representing  some  of 
the  largest  binderies  in  New  York  were  again  inter- 

7 


WOMEN   IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

viewed  by  agents  of  the  Committee,  and  more  than 
100  visits  were  made  at  the  homes  of  bindery  girls 
attending  public  evening  schools  in  Manhattan 
and  the  Bronx.  The  field  work  lasted  until  July, 
191 1. 

The  first  task  was  to  secure  the  names  and  ad- 
dresses of  all  binderies  in  Manhattan.  A  street 
directory  in  the  form  of  a  card  index  was  compiled 
from  as  many  sources  as  possible,  including  the 
business  directories  of  New  York  City,  the  files  of 
the  Alliance  Employment  Bureau,  the  statements 
of  bindery  workers  regarding  their  places  of  em- 
ployment, and  all  advertisements  for  bindery 
women  appearing  in  The  World  during  a  period 
of  six  months.  It  may  be  that  a  few  binderies 
were  omitted,  but  shops  which  did  not  appear  in 
any  of  these  sources  could  not  have  been  important. 
The  difficulty  of  securing  a  complete  list  of  es- 
tablishments in  one  trade  even  in  a  single  borough 
of  New  York,  is  an  evidence  of  the  interlocking  of 
occupations.  Not  all  bookbinderies  are  indepen- 
dent. Bindery  departments  were  discovered  in 
lithographing  establishments,  in  printing  offices,  in 
sample  card  manufactories,  and  even  in  so  unex- 
pected a  place  as  a  wholesale  store,  where  the  trade 
catalogue  of  the  firm  was  bound  on  the  premises. 
In  this  part  of  the  investigation  alone  478  visits 
were  made  at  417  addresses,  with  the  result  that 
247  binderies  or  bindery  departments  employing  a 
regular  force  of  women  were  found,  while  33  of  the 
places  visited  were  printing  offices,  or  lithograph- 

8 


INTRODUCTORY 

ing  establishments,  or  other  allied  branches  of  the 
printing  industry,  in  which  bindery  hands  were 
employed  only  for  temporary  work.  Some  estab- 
lishments had  failed  or  had  moved  out  of  the 
borough  of  Manhattan,  a  few  had  consolidated 
with  other  firms,  and  in  several  no  women  were 
employed  in  binding  processes.  Of  the  247  per- 
manent binderies  visited,  210  were  investigated. 
Information  about  the  others  was  incomplete. 

The  investigation  of  bindery  establishments  pre- 
sented peculiar  difficulties.  To  secure  complete 
information  from  every  employer  interviewed 
was  impossible.  The  obstacles  were  due  not  al- 
ways to  lack  of  interest  on  the  part  of  the  em- 
ployer, or  to  a  desire  to  conceal  his  "own  business/' 
but  often  to  indefmiteness  of  conditions.  Not  all 
workshops  are  as  carefully  organized  as  the  in- 
dustrial ideal  of  the  present  century  demands. 
"It  depends  on  the  orders/'  and  "It  all  depends 
on  the  run  of  work/'  are  replies  recorded  in  answer 
to  questions  regarding  wages,  seasons,  and  other 
conditions.  "  How  can  I  tell  what  kind  of  work's 
coming  in?"  said  one  employer  impatiently  when 
asked  what  branch  of  the  trade  was  his  specialty. 
Great  differences  in  organization,  found  not  only  in 
different  establishments,  but  in  the  same  establish- 
ment from  day  to  day,  present  many  obstacles  to 
the  gathering  of  exact  statistics.  In  many  cases, 
however,  employers  gave  very  full  information 
about  the  conditions  of  work  of  the  women  in  their 
binderies.  Their  statements  were  verified  and 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

supplemented  by  the  case  study  of  bindery  girls. 
At  the  close  of  the  investigation  it  was  found  that 
members  of  the  group  of  girls  interviewed  had  been 
employed  at  some  time  during  their  trade  careers 
in  over  50  per  cent  of  the  binderies  investigated. 
This  fact  made  it  possible  to  determine  the  accuracy 
and  value  of  statements  made  both  by  employers 
and  by  workers.* 

The  names  of  bindery  girls  were  secured  from 
the  files  of  the  Alliance  Employment  Bureau,  from 
public  evening  schools,  girls'  clubs,  and  other  or- 
ganizations, and  from  women  in  the  trade.  The 
list  numbered  362.  To  cover  these  cases  it  was 
necessary  to  make  732  visits.  The  number  of 
complete  records  secured  was  2Oi.|  The  reasons 
for  not  securing  full  information  from  the  others 
are  various.  Of  the  whole  group,  61  girls  had  not 

*  Girls  were  interviewed  who  had  worked  in  36  of  the  37  edition  and 
pamphlet  binderies  in  New  York,  employing  50  or  more  girls,  in  56  of 
the  1 19  edition,  pamphlet,  job,  and  art  binderies  employing  less  than 
50,  and  in  17  of  the  54  blankbook  binderies  investigated.  Of  one 
bindery  21  present  or  former  employes  were  interviewed,  of  another 
19,  another  18,  and  another  14.  None  were  interviewed  in  the 
workroom. 

fThe  sources  of  these  201  names  were  varied  enough  to  inspire 
confidence  in  the  representative  character  of  the  results. 

Alliance  Employment  Bureau 86 

Fellow  workers  in  binderies 53 

Evening  schools 36 

Settlements  or  girls'  clubs,  etc 20 

(Includes  Jacob  A.  Riis  House,  Richmond  Hill 
House,  Girls'  Friendly  Society,  Educational  Alli- 
ance, Greenpoint  Settlement) 

Visits  to  binderies 4 

Manhattan  Trade  School i 

Advertisement i 

Total 201 

10 


INTRODUCTORY 

been  in  the  trade  within  the  year  preceding  the 
date  of  the  interview,  and  therefore  their  records 
were  not  tabulated;  13  gave  incomplete  or  inac- 
curate information;  87  were  not  found,  had  never 
worked  in  the  trade,  had  definitely  left  it,  or  were 
employed  only  in  some  allied  process  like  litho- 
graphing, pattern  folding,  sample  card  mounting, 
or  printing.  Interviews  with  those  girls  whose 
records  were  not  complete  or  recent  enough  to  be 
tabulated,  or  who  were  employed  in  some  allied 
process,  often,  however,  threw  light  on  conditions 
of  work  and  thus  contributed  data  to  the  investi- 
gation. 

Such  a  case  study  of  workers  is  more  time-con- 
suming than  is  the  investigation  of  work  places. 
The  visits  must  be  made  at  night  to  find  the  girls 
at  home  from  work.  It  is  seldom  possible  for 
one  person  to  talk  fully  with  more  than  two  in  an 
evening,  and  often  the  whole  time  is  given  to  one. 
The  majority  of  the  interviews  were  in  the  homes 
of  the  workers,  although  several  girls  were  met 
in  the  office  of  the  Alliance  Employment  Bureau, 
and  a  few  at  a  social  settlement.  Plenty  of  time 
was  allowed  for  full  and  frank  discussion.  The 
record  cards  were  not  used  during  the  conversa- 
tion, lest  their  appearance  should  have  a  chilling 
effect. 

The  investigators  who  took  part  in  the  field 
work  for  long  or  short  periods  in  the  course  of  the 
study  were  Miss  Louise  C.  Odencrantz,  Miss 
Zaida  E.  Udell,  Miss  Elizabeth  L.  Meigs,  and 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

the  writer.  Miss  Odencrantz  also  tabulated  the 
records  and  compiled  the  statistics  used  in  these 
chapters. 

To  those  who  expect  investigators  to  outline  a 
single,  clear-cut  method  of  reform,  these  pages 
may  be  a  disappointment.  The  material  is  not 
arranged  as  an  argument  in  favor  of  any  special 
social  program.  It  proves  rather  the  complexity 
of  the  problem  and  the  necessity  of  varied  methods 
of  approach.  It  is  designed  to  afford  full  and  de- 
tailed information  presented  without  bias,  in  the 
hope  of  enlisting  the  interest  of  those  who  as  em- 
ployers, as  workers,  as  teachers,  as  legislators,  as 
voters,  or  as  buyers,  share  responsibility  for  the 
welfare  of  wage-earning  women. 


12 


CHAPTER  II 
THE  BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

THE  bookbinder  of  today  has  a  more  complex 
business  to  manage  than  did  his  predecessor 
of  two  or  three  hundred  years  ago.  His 
products  are  used  so  widely  that  he  serves  prac- 
tically every  trade,  business,  or  profession  in  the 
community.  He  binds  the  Bible,  Shakespeare, 
and  many  less  classic  writings  for  individual  cus- 
tomers. He  covers  several  thousand  volumes  of 
a  new  novel  for  a  publisher.  He  takes  an  order 
from  a  printer  to  bind  copies  of  a  pamphlet.  He 
stitches  programs  for  a  theater  or  an  opera  house, 
or  fastens  together  the  sheets  of  a  church  calendar. 
He  makes  manifold  books  for  the  use  of  sales- 
women in  department  stores.  He  puts  together 
the  leaves  of  a  telephone  directory  and  pastes 
on  the  cover.  He  works  for  stock  brokers,  law- 
yers, gas  companies,  steel  corporations,  and  banks, 
binding  briefs,  numbering  checks,  paging  cash 
books,  and  rebinding  heavy  ledgers.  He  folds, 
stitches,  and  mails  magazines  for  publishers,  and 
makes  albums,  not  so  often  now-a-days  for  family 
photographs  as  for  postal  cards  and  kodak  pic- 
tures. He  binds  school  books,  and  rebinds  vol- 
umes for  the  public  library.  Sometimes  he  takes 

'3 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

over  work  from  another  bookbinder,  who  has 
secured  an  order  too  large  for  him  to  handle 
alone,  or  who  is  specializing  in  some  other  line. 
He  also  handles  trade  catalogues,  and  all  sorts  and 
conditions  of  advertising  material,  thus  being 
called  upon  to  adjust  his  business  to  the  seasons 
and  market  conditions  of  every  occupation  which 
uses  printed  advertisements.  And  with  all  this 
extension  of  the  trade  have  come  changes  in 
methods  and  conditions  which  have  exerted  a  far- 
reaching  influence  on  the  welfare  of  the  workers. 
In  New  York,  where  more  bookbinders  congregate 
than  in  any  other  city  of  the  United  States,  this 
complexity  is  magnified. 

Nevertheless,  in  spite  of  the  variety  of  products 
and  processes  involved  in  the  modern  industry, 
to  many  the  word  "bookbinding"  still  suggests 
only  morocco  and  gold  leaf, — the  artist's  design, 
the  craftsman's  skilful  touch.  But  the  treasures 
of  the  bibliophile  are  produced  in  only  a  very  few 
small  shops  in  New  York  today,  and  in  the  large 
binderies,  equipped  with  machinery,  the  methods 
which  have  been  adopted  bear  slight  resemblance 
to  the  ancient  art  of  bookbinding. 

The  careful  hand  work  of  the  eighteenth  century 
is  eclipsed  by  machinery,  and  the  detailed  ac- 
counts rendered  by  Roger  Payne  to  his  cus- 
tomers would  make  the  bookkeeper  of  a  modern 
bindery  smile  in  wonder.  His  bill  for  binding  a 
copy  of  "Aeschylus  Glasguae  MDCCXCV  Flax- 
man  illustravit,"  reads: 

14 


PASTING  MACHINE 


EDGE  GILDERS 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

"  Bound  in  the  very  best  manner,  sew'd  with 
strong  Silk,  every  Sheet  round  every  Band,  not 
false  bands:  the  Back  lined  with  Russia  Leather, 
Cut  Exceeding  large;  Finished  in  the  most  magni- 
ficent manner.  Embordered  with  ERMINE  ex- 
pressive of  The  High  Rank  of  the  Noble  Patroness 
of  The  Designs,  The  other  Parts  Finished  in  the 
most  Elegant  Taste  with  small  Tool  Gold  Borders 
Studded  with  Gold;  and  small  Tool  Panes  of  the 
most  exact  Work.  Measured  with  the  Compasses. 
It  takes  a  great  deal  of  Time  making  out  the  differ- 
ent measurements,  preparing  the  Tools,  and  mak- 
ing out  new  Patterns.  The  Back  Finished  in 
Compartments  with  parts  of  Gold  studded  work 
and  open  Work  to  relieve  the  Rich  close  studded 
work."*  He  continues  with  a  description  of 
his  methods,  as  further  justification  for  the  size 
of  his  bill:  "All  the  Tools  except  studded  points 
are  obliged  to  be  worked  off  plain  first,  and  after- 
wards the  Gold  laid  on  and  Worked  off  again. 
And  this  Gold  Work  requires  double  Gold  being 
on  Rough  Grained  Morocco.  The  impressions 
of  the  Tools  must  be  fitted  and  cover'd  at  the 
bottom  with  Gold  to  prevent  flaws  and  cracks/' 

But  archaic  as  this  description  sounds,  book- 
binding has  a  history  beginning  long  before 
the  time  of  Roger  Payne.  Preceding  him  were 
Grolier  in  France  in  the  reign  of  Francis  I,  the 
Italian  binders  of  the  fifteenth  and  sixteenth  cen- 

*  Quoted  in  Encyclopedia  Britannica,  gth  edition,  1876.  Vol.  IV, 
p.  42. 

15 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

turies,  the  monks  in  the  dark  ages,  who  executed 
elaborate  bindings  for  the  preservation  of  their 
hand-written  volumes,  and  earlier  still  the  slaves 
who  bound  manuscripts  when  the  Roman  Empire 
was  at  the  height  of  its  power.  Older  than  these 
were  the  palm  leaves  "bound"  by  silken  strings, 
which  formed  the  sacred  books  of  Ceylon,  and  still 
more  ancient  the  tiles  of  baked  clay  encased  one 
within  another.* 

Nor  was  the  delicate  art  of  bookbinding  in  early 
days  confined  to  men.  On  the  contrary  there  are 
scattered  references  in  history  and  in  fiction  which 
indicate  that  for  several  centuries  women  have 
helped  to  bind  books.  Stevenson  tells  us  that  in 
1450  in  the  court  of  Blois,  a  woman,  the  widow  of 
a  bookbinder,  bound  books  for  Charles  of  Orleans. f 
"He  (Charles  of  Orleans)  was  a  bit  of  a  book- 
fancier,  and  had  vied  with  his  brother  Angouleme 
in  bringing  back  the  library  of  their  grandfather 
Charles  V  when  Bedford  put  it  up  for  sale  in  Lon- 
don. The  duchess  had  a  library  of  her  own ;  and 
we  hear  of  her  borrowing  romances  from  ladies 
in  attendance  on  the  blue-stocking  Margaret  of 
Scotland.  Not  only  were  books  collected,  but 
new  books  were  written  at  the  court  of  Blois. 
The  widow  of  one  Jean  Fougere,  a  bookbinder, 
seems  to  have  done  a  number  of  odd  commissions 

*  Zaehnsdorf,  J.  W. :  Bookbinding,  Introduction.  London, 
George  Bell  and  Sons,  1903. 

t  Stevenson,  Robert  Louis:  Works,  Vol.  XIV,  Familiar  Studies  of 
Men  and  Books,  Essay  on  Charles  of  Orleans,  p.  233.  New  York, 
Charles  Scribner's  Sons,  1895. 

16 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

for  the  bibliophilous  count.  She  it  was  who  re- 
ceived three  vellum  skins  to  bind  the  duchess's 
Book  of  Hours,  and  who  was  employed  to  prepare 
parchment  for  the  use  of  the  duke's  scribes.  And 
she  it  was  who  bound  in  vermillion  leather  the 
great  manuscript  of  Charles's  own  poems,  which 
was  presented  to  him  by  his  secretary,  Anthony 
Astesan,with  the  text  in  one  column,  and  Astesan's 
Latin  version  in  the  other." 

And  as  time  went  on  it  is  evident  that  the  art 
was  one  in  which  the  plodding  industry  as  well  as 
the  taste  of  women  found  employment,  for  we 
learn  from  Victor  Hugo  that  about  the  year  1800, 
Jean  Valjean  in  the  fourth  year  of  his  captivity 
had  news  that  his  sister  was  trying  to  support 
herself  and  her  little  son  by  binding  pamphlets  in 
Paris.*  "Every  morning  she  went  to  a  printing 
office,  No.  3  Rue  de  Sabot,  where  she  was  a  folder 
and  stitcher;  she  had  to  be  there  at  6  in  the  morn- 
ing, long  before  daylight  in  winter.  In  the  same 
house  with  the  printing  office  there  was  a  day 
school,  to  which  she  took  her  little  boy,  who  was 
seven  years  of  age.  But  as  she  went  to  work  at  6 
and  the  school  did  not  open  till  7  o'clock,  the  boy 
was  compelled  to  wait  in  the  yard  for  an  hour,  in 
winter, — an  hour  of  night  in  the  open  air.  The 
boy  was  not  allowed  to  enter  the  printing  office, 
because  it  was  said  that  he  would  be  in  the  way." 

Long  before  1800,  however,  the  industry  had 

*  Hugo,  Victor:  Les  Miserables.     Fantine,  Book  II,  Chapter  VI, 
pp.  128-129.     Boston,  Little,  Brown  and  Co.,  1887. 
2  17 


WOMEN   IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

crossed  to  America,  for  we  have  the  account  of  one 
Hugh  Gaine,*  who  in  1752  had  a  printing  and  bind- 
ing establishment  in  Hanover  Square,  New  York. 
It  is  probable  that  as  soon  as  men  began  to  prac- 
tice the  art  in  the  United  States,  women  were 
employed  for  some  of  the  processes.  In  1834 
when  Harriet  Martineau  visited  this  country  she 
found  women  engaged  as  folders  and  stitchers. 
The  reference  in  her  bookf  is  as  interesting  for 
her  emphatic  denunciation  of  the  social  condi- 
tions that  prevailed  at  the  time  as  for  her  dis- 
closure that  the  trade  of  bookbinding  was  one 
in  which  women  were  supporting  themselves. 
In  a  country  "where  it  is  a  boast  that  women 
do  not  labour,"  she  wrote,  "  the  encourage- 
ment and  rewards  of  labour  are  not  pro- 
vided. It  is  so  in  America.  In  some  parts  there 
are  now  so  many  women  dependent  on  their  own 
exertions  for  a  maintenance,  that  the  evil  will  give 
way  before  the  force  of  circumstances.  In  the 
meantime,  the  lot  of  poor  women  is  sad.  Before 
the  opening  of  the  factories,  there  were  but  three 
resources;  teaching,  needle- work,  and  keeping 
boarding-houses  or  hotels.  Now  there  are  the 
mills;  and  women  are  employed  in  printing  offices 
as  compositors,  as  well  as  folders  and  stitchers." 
Before  the  date  of  Harriet  Martineau's  visit, 
Philadelphia  had  become  the  largest  publishing 

*  Depew,  C.  ML:  One  Hundred  Years  of  American  Commerce,  p. 
642.  New  York,  D.  O.  Haynes  and  Co.,  1895. 

t  Martineau,  Harriet:  Society  in  America,  Vol.  II,  p.  257.  New 
York,  Saunders  and  Otley,  1837. 

18 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

center,  and  boasted  "the  greatest  publisher  in  the 
United  States/'  Mathew  Carey.*  Thus  some  very 
early  products  of  the  bindery  trade  in  this  country 
were  such  pamphlets  as  "An  open  letter  to  the 
ladies  who  have  undertaken  to  establish  a  house  of 
industry,"  published  in  1831  by  Carey,  and  "An 
appeal  to  the  wealth  of  the  land  on  the  character, 
conduct,  situation,  and  prospects  of  those  whose 
sole  dependence  for  subsistence  is  on  the  labour  of 
their  hands,"  a  document  issued  in  1833.  Indeed, 
Carey  himself  took  an  active  interest  in  the  condi- 
tions of  women's  work,  carrying  on  a  pamphlet  and 
newspaper  agitation  for  better  wages  for  them, 
and  presiding  at  a  large  meeting  of  working  women, 
which  included  bookbinders.  This  meeting  was 
called  for  the  purpose  of  organizing  the  Female 
Improvement  Society,  with  committees  represent- 
ing different  trades. f 

When  the  printing  press  came  into  general  use 
and  multiplied  the  number  of  books,  necessarily 
the  careful  binding  heretofore  accorded  a  single 
laboriously  written  manuscript  gave  place  to  more 
rapid  methods  of  preparing  volumes  for  the  hands 
of  readers.  Separated  in  beauty  of  form  and 
finish  as  is  a  Grolier  edition  of  De  Bury's  Philo- 
biblon  from  a  quarterly  telephone  directory,  there 

*  Depew,  C.  M.:  One  Hundred  Years  of  American  Commerce, 
p.  314.  New  York,  D.  O.  Haynes  and  Co.,  1895. 

t  Report  on  Condition  of  Woman  and  Child  Wage-earners  in 
the  United  States.  Vol.  X,  History  of  Women  in  Trade  Unions, 
pp.  39-40.  U.  S.  Senate  document  No.  645.  Pages  40-41  refer  to  a 
strike  in  1835  by  the  Female  Book  Union  Association  in  New  York 
in  an  effort  to  secure  "  a  small  advance  in  their  list  of  prices." 

19 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

is  a  fundamental  resemblance  in  the  processes  of 
binding.  In  both  it  is  the  task  of  the  binder  to 
take  the  sheets  as  they  have  come  from  the  print- 
ing press,  and  so  treat  them  that  their  preservation 
in  proper  sequence  will  be  assured.  Whether  a 
book  is  to  be  bound  by  hand  or  machine,  whether 
it  is  to  be  covered  with  levant  or  thin  paper, 
whether  it  is  to  be  sewed  with  linen  thread  or 
stitched  with  wire,  it  is  necessary  to  fold  the  sheets 
in  uniform  size,  to  fasten  the  folded  sections  to- 
gether in  proper  sequence,  and  to  put  on  a  cover. 
It  is  in  the  covering  that  the  branches  of  the  trade 
differ  most  widely.  The  making  of  the  hand- 
bound  book,  designed  to  last  several  generations, 
demands  the  most  numerous  processes.  At  the 
other  extreme  is  the  paper-covered  pamphlet 
whose  destination  is  likely  to  be  the  nearest  waste 
basket. 

THE  PROCESS  OF  BINDING 

If  a  book  is  to  be  bound  by  hand,  the  printed 
sheets  are  first  folded  to  the  desired  size.  For 
example,  a  quarto  sheet  is  folded  into  two  folds 
making  a  section  of  four  leaves  or  eight  pages,  and 
an  octavo  into  four  folds  making  a  section  of 
eight  leaves  or  16  pages.  The  sections  are  then 
gathered  in  proper  sequence,  as  indicated  by  a 
number  called  "the  signature"  printed  on  the 
first  page  of  the  section.  They  are  then  beaten 
with  a  hammer  or  rolled  in  a  machine  to  make 
them  a  compact  volume.  They  are  next  "col- 

20 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

lated,"  or  examined,  to  make  sure  that  each  page 
is  in  its  proper  place.  At  various  stages  the 
volume  is  pressed.  If  the  book  is  to  be  sewed 
"flexible"  on  raised  cords,  the  back  must  be 
marked  to  show  the  position  of  the  cords,  and  if 
they  are  to  be  embedded  in  the  back,  grooves  are 
sawed  for  them.  When  the  end  papers  have  been 
put  in,  the  rough  edges  trimmed,  and  the  back 
rounded,  the  book  is  ready  for  its  cover.  The 
ends  of  the  cords  are  drawn  through  holes  in  the 
mill-boards  (the  stiff  foundation  of  a  cover), 
pasted,  and  hammered  smooth.  The  edges  of  the 
pages  are  cut  with  the  "plough"  in  the  cutting 
machine,  to  give  each  page  uniform  margins. 
The  edges  may  then  be  sprinkled,  colored,  or  gilded, 
after  which  the  head-bands  are  attached  to  the 
back  at  top  and  bottom.  Finally,  the  book  is 
covered  with  leather  or  silk  or  some  other  material, 
and  the  cover  is  ornamented.  These  last  pro- 
cesses vary  with  the  kind  of  material  used  and  the 
plan  of  ornamentation. 

The  machine  method  of  binding  books  omits 
many  processes  of  hand  binding,  and  combines 
others  into  one  simple  operation.  In  hand  bind- 
ing, one  book  is  the  center  of  attention  until  it  is 
finished,  and  each  volume  may  receive  slightly 
different  treatment  according  to  the  design  chosen 
for  it.  In  machine  binding,  the  method  is  to  re- 
peat one  process  thousands  of  times,  adopting  the 
factory  system  with  its  division  of  labor  and  its 
mechanical  devices.  Books  and  their  covers  are 

21 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

fed  by  the  hundred  through  machines  in  different 
departments,  and  they  are  not  brought  together 
until  the  last  stage  is  reached.  Machines  fold, 
gather,  smash,  sew,  trim,  round,  and  back.  The 
backs  are  lined  up  and  glued  in  quick  succession, 
and  in  gilding  the  edges,  instead  of  handling  the 
volumes  one  by  one,  several  are  placed  in  a  "  lying- 
press  "  and  gilded  simultaneously.  These  proc- 
esses involved  in  getting  the  sheets  ready  for  the 
cover  are  called  "forwarding." 

In  the  meantime,  the  cover  or  case  is  being  pre- 
pared. The  boards  and  the  cloth  are  cut  to  fit  the 
volume,  and  both  are  fed  into  the  case-making 
machine,  which  covers  the  cloth  with  glue,  lays 
the  boards  in  their  proper  places,  pastes  a  strip  of 
paper  on  the  back,  and  turns  down  the  edges  of 
the  cloth,  all  in  one  complex  operation,  delivering 
the  finished  cases  at  the  side  of  the  machine.  If 
the  covers  are  to  be  ornamented  or  lettered,  gold 
leaf,  or  some  substitute,  is  laid  on  by  hand,  and 
the  titles  or  designs  stamped  into  the  cloth  by 
means  of  a  powerful  press.  The  "forwarded 
books"  and  the  covers  are  then  fed  into  the  casing- 
in  machine,  which  smears  the  sides  of  each  volume 
with  paste  and  automatically  attaches  the  covers. 

A  pamphlet  must  be  folded  and  its  sections 
placed  in  as  accurate  order  as  a  book  bound  in 
cloth  or  morocco,  but  as  the  pamphlet  is  to  be 
covered  only  with  heavy  paper  it  does  not  require 
pressing,  trimming,  and  retrimming,  rounding  and 
backing,  gluing,  lining-up,  drawing-off,  and  all  the 

22 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

other  diverse  manipulations  by  which  the  hand 
worker  on  a  single  volume  insures  the  preserva- 
tion of  the  sheets  in  a  solid  and  substantial  bind- 
ing. A  pamphlet  may  be  so  printed  that  its  sheets 
when  folded  must  be  inserted  one  within  the  other. 
In  that  case  the  paper  cover  may  be  put  on  before 
the  pamphlet  is  stitched,  and  a  wire  staple,  taking 
the  place  of  the  linen  thread  used  in  books,  may 
be  inserted  from  the  back  of  the  cover  through  the 
center  of  the  inner  sheet.  Or  the  sections  may  be 
laid  one  on  top  of  the  other,  and  stitched  flat  along 
the  back  a  short  distance  in  from  the  edges.  Then 
the  cover  is  pasted,  by  hand  or  by  machine,  to  the 
back  of  these  stitched  sheets. 

A  magazine  or  periodical  is  in  reality  a  pamphlet, 
but  it  is  characterized  by  uniformity  of  size  week 
after  week,  or  month  after  month.  Thus  it  lends 
itself  admirably  to  machine  production.  When 
the  gauges  have  once  been  set  to  fit  the  sheets 
they  need  not  be  changed,  and  it  is  possible  to  com- 
bine several  machines  in  one. 

A  word  must  be  said  of  blankbook  making,  al- 
though this  report  concerns  mainly  the  binding  of 
printed  books.  The  blankbook  maker  does  not 
receive  the  sheets  from  a  printer  ready  for  binding. 
His  trade  includes  the  ruling  and  numbering  of  the 
pages  of  account  books,  ledgers,  diaries,  address 
books,  albums,  copybooks,  and  portfolios.  In  his 
craft,  as  in  that  of  the  "printer's  binder/'  the 
processes  of  work  vary  with  the  degree  of  preserva- 
tion required  for  the  sheets.  A  heavy  ledger,  of 

23 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

inestimable  value  to  some  business  establishment, 
may  be  bound  and  rebound  by  hand  in  the  most 
substantial  way.  A  school  child's  copybook  may 
be  sewed  by  machine  without  any  elaborate  prep- 
aration for  a  covering.  With  the  introduction  of 
card  systems  and  loose  leaf  note  books,  a  great 
change  has  come  over  a  portion  of  the  blankbook 
maker's  trade,  and  in  some  cases  the  "binder"  has 
become  the  "manufacturer  of  loose  leaf  devices." 

BRANCHES  OF  THE  TRADE 

Variety  in  products  and  in  methods  of  work  has 
divided  the  bookbinding  trade  into  branches,  with 
diverse  processes,  different  machines,  and  distinct 
labor  conditions.  In  the  "job"  bindery,  for  in- 
stance, each  book  is  bound  by  hand  for  a  "private" 
as  distinguished  from  a  "business"  customer.  The 
owner  may  be  an  art  binder,  who  ornaments  the 
covers  of  books  with  beautiful  designs,  or  he  may 
omit  all  ornament  and  devote  his  attention  merely 
to  executing  a  strong  and  durable  piece  of  work. 
In  the  "edition"  bindery,  as  its  name  implies, 
editions  of  thousands  of  volumes,  all  alike,  are 
turned  out  by  machines.  The  customers  are 
usually  publishers,  unless  the  printer,  from  whom 
the  binder  receives  the  printed  sheets  of  the  book, 
acts  as  middleman  between  publisher  and  binder. 
In  the  "pamphlet"  bindery,  pamphlets  are  folded, 
stitched,  and  covered,  but  no  books  are  bound 
in  cloth  or  leather.  In  the  "magazine"  bindery, 
periodicals  are  bound  and  mailed.  The  customers 

24 


SEWING  BOOKS  BY  HAND 


SEWING  BOOKS  BY  MACHINE 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

are  publishers,  or  printers  who  make  the  contract 
with  the  publishers  and  then  give  out  the  binding 
to  other  establishments.  In  the  "blankbook" 
bindery  paper  is  ruled  and  blankbooks  manufac- 
tured or  rebound.  The  customer  may  be  an  indi- 
vidual or  a  firm  giving  an  order  for  a  single  job, 
or  a  wholesale  stationer  ordering  books  in  large 
quantities. 

These  five — job,  edition,  pamphlet,  magazine, 
and  blankbook  binding — are  the  distinct  branches 
of  the  trade.  One  bookbinding  establishment 
may  include  them  all.  It  may  be  equipped  not 
only  with  wire-stitching  machines,  but  with  sewing 
machines.  Not  only  may  pamphlets  be  covered, 
but  books  may  be  bound.  A  woman,  sitting  be- 
fore an  old-fashioned  frame,  may  sew  a  single  book 
for  a  private  customer,  while,  at  the  same  time,  a 
hundred  thousand  copies  of  a  monthly  magazine 
may  be  passing  through  the  gathering  machine. 
An  establishment  may  lack  one  department 
necessary  for  the  complete  binding  of  a  book,  and 
a  block  or  more  away  may  be  found  another  de- 
voting its  entire  force  to  the  work  of  that  one  de- 
partment. For  example,  the  trade  includes  firms 
whose  only  work  is  to  gild  the  edges  of  books,  or 
to  lay  the  gold  and  stamp  the  covers,  or  to  num- 
ber checks,  bonds,  and  insurance  policies.  Mar- 
bling papers  for  the  use  of  binders  is  now  regarded 
as  a  separate  industry.  This  specialization  has 
made  possible  the  work  of  a  middleman  or  agent, — 
to  transfer  a  single  branch  of  the  work  from  the 

25 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

binder  who  does  not  wish  to  handle  it  to  the  firm 
which  makes  it  a  specialty.  Nevertheless,  the 
middleman  does  not  seem  yet  to  be  conspicuous 
in  the  industry. 


THE  TRADE  IN  NEW  YORK 

The  most  important  center  of  the  bookbinding 
trade  in  the  United  States  is  New  York  City.* 
The  value  of  the  products  of  New  York  binderies 
is  36  per  cent  of  the  total  value  of  these  products 
in  the  whole  country.  In  the  borough  of  Man- 
hattan alone,  280  binderies,  including  temporary 
departments,  were  found  in  the  course  of  this  in- 
vestigation. 

TABLE  1.— BINDERIES  IN  MANHATTAN.  BY  NATURE  OF 
PRODUCTS,  1910 


Binderies 

Number 

Per  Cent 
of  all 
Binderies 

All  binderies  

280 

Binderies  engaged  in  — 

Edition  work    

55 

20 

Pamphlet  and  magazine  work     . 

149 

53 

Job  or  art  work        

44 

16 

Blankbook  making,  ruling,  numbering,  etc. 
Binding  departments   of  establishments   en- 

74 

26 

gaged  in- 

Lithographing  

13 

5 

Printing     
Engraving,  manufacture  of  stationery,  etc. 

98 
26 

35 
9 

Of  the  binderies  in  Manhattan,  5  3  per  cent  bind 
pamphlets  and  magazines,  20  per  cent  do  edition 

*  Cf.  United  States  Census,  Bulletin  59,  New  York  State,  Manu- 
factures, p.  50,  1905. 

26 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

work,  1 6  per  cent  job  or  art  work,  26  per  cent  blank- 
book  work,  5  per  cent  are  departments  of  litho- 
graphing establishments,  35  per  cent  printing 
offices,  and  9  per  cent  are  allied  with  engraving, 
stationery  work,  etc.  These  divisions  are  not 
mutually  exclusive.  It  is  often  difficult  to  classify 
an  establishment  as  an  edition  bindery,  or  a  pam- 
phlet or  magazine  bindery,  as  the  different  products 
may  be  found  in  the  same  workroom.  In  that 
case  the  shop  has  been  counted  in  each  of  these 
branches  of  the  trade. 

The  bookbinding  trade  has  tended  not  only  to 
concentrate  in  New  York,  but  much  of  it  has 
crowded  into  a  single  district  of  the  city.  The 
section  of  Manhattan  Island  about  the  City  Hall 
may  be  regarded  as  the  heart  of  the  industry. 
Within  a  radius  of  a  mile  of  the  City  Hall,  in  a 
semi-circle  east  of  Broadway,  126  binderies,  45 
per  cent  of  the  total  in  the  borough  of  Manhattan, 
are  located. 

Between  1900  and  1905  the  importance  of  the 
trade  in  New  York  state  increased  from  $5, 354,004 
to  $7,557,640,  in  capital  invested,  an  increase  of 
4 1 .2  per  cent ;  from  7, 1 52  to  7,984,  or  1 1 .6  per  cent, 
in  number  of  wage-earners;  from  $3, 152, 739  to 
$3,648,146,  or  15.7  per  cent,  in  total  amount  paid 
in  wages;  and  from  $9,049,198  to  $11,165,333,  or 
23.4  per  cent,  in  value  of  products.*  The  classi- 
fication of  establishments  according  to  value  of 

*  United  States  Census,  Bulletin  59,  New  York  State,  Manu- 
factures, pp.  6,  10,  1905. 

27 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

products  brings  to  light  the  fact  that  in  New  York 
state  in  1905,  212,  or  69.7  per  cent,  of  the  total 
number  of  bookbinderies  reported  the  value  of 
their  yearly  output  as  less  than  $20,000  for  each 
establishment,  while  only  26,  or  8.6  per  cent,  valued 
their  products  as  high  as  "$100,000  but  less  than 
$1,000,000."  This  small  group  of  26  binderies 
reported  72.7  per  cent  of  the  total  capital,  about 
$5,500,000,  and  53.9  per  cent,  or  4,306,  of  the  total 
number  of  wage-earners  in  the  bookbinding  in- 
dustry in  New  York  state,  while  the  much  larger 
group  of  212  binderies  jointly  claimed  onlyio  per 
cent,  about  $750,000,  of  the  capital,  and  17.7  per 
cent,  or  1,408,  of  the  number  of  employes.*  Thus 
the  greater  part  of  the  industry  is  in  the  hands 
of  a  few,  whose  establishments,  in  value  of  prod- 
ucts and  number  of  employes,  outrank  the  com- 
bined forces  of  more  than  nine-tenths  of  the 
employers  in  the  trade. 

Official  figures  in  the  United  States  census  indi- 
cate a  steady  growth  in  the  number  of  women  em- 
ployed in  the  bookbinding  trade  since  1870,  when 
for  the  first  time  wage-earning  women  were  sepa- 
rately classified  according  to  their  occupations. 
Indeed,  it  was  not  until  1850  that  any  detailed  in- 
quiry regarding  wage-earning  pursuits  was  made 
by  census  enumerators,  and  even  then  these  ques- 
tions did  not  apply  to  women  and  slaves.  At  that 
time  3,414  men  over  fifteen  years  of  age  were 

*  United  States  Census,  Bulletin  59,  New  York  State,  Manu- 
factures, p.  41,  1905. 

28 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

recorded  as  bookbinders.*  A  decade  later,  in 
1860,  the  trade  of  every  free  person,  man  or  woman, 
was  ascertained,  but  in  the  tabulation  men  and 
women  were  grouped  together,  so  that  for  that 
year  only  the  total  number  of  bookbinders,  6,360, 
is  known.  In  later  years  men  and  women  ten 
years  of  age  and  over  were  counted  separately. 
The  facts  are  shown  in  Table  2. 

TABLE  2— NUMBER  OF  PERSONS  ENGAGED   IN   BOOK- 
BINDING IN  THE  UNITED  STATES,  BY 
DECADES.     1850-1900a 


Census 
Year 

All  Persons 

Men 

Women 

Per  Cent 
Women 

1850 

b 

3,414 

b 

1860 

6,360 

..b 

_b 

.  . 

1870 

9,104 

6,375 

2,729 

30.0 

1880 

13.833 

8,342 

5,49i 

39-7 

1890 

23,858 

12,298 

11,560 

48.5 

1900 

30,278 

14,646 

15,632 

51-6 

*  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.     Special  Reports,  Occupa- 
tions, pp.  Hi,  Ix. 

b  Facts  not  given  in  the  Census. 

Thus,  in  1870,  when  for  the  first  time  women  in 
occupations  were  counted  separately,  2,729  women 
and  6,375  mer*  were  found  to  be  employed  in  the 
bindery  trade  in  the  United  States.  Of  these 
groups,  1,309  women  and  1,898  men  were  living  in 
New  York  and  Brooklyn. f  From  this  decade  on, 
not  only  did  the  number  of  bookbinders  (men  and 

*  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.     Special  Reports,  Occupa- 
tions, p.  Ix. 

t  Ninth  United  States  Census,  1870.  Vol.  I,  Population  and  Social 
Statistics,  pp.  779,  793. 

29 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

women)  increase,  but  the  proportion  of  women  in 
the  trade  grew  rapidly  larger.  In  1870,  30  per 
cent  of  the  employes  in  binderies  were  women 
and  70  per  cent  were  men;  in  1880,  39.7  per  cent 
were  women  and  60.3  per  cent  were  men;  in 


15,632 


15.000 


10,000 


5,000 


Men  Women 
1870 


Men  Women 
1880 


Men  Women 
1890 


Men  Women 
1900 


CHART  I.  — MEN  AND  WOMEN  BOOKBINDERS  IN  THE  UNITED  STATES, 
1870,  1880,  1890,  AND  1900 

1890,  48.5  per  cent  were  women  and  5 1.5  per  cent 
were  men;  in  1900,  5 1.6  per  cent  were  women  and 
48.4  per  cent  were  men.  The  facts  are  shown  in 
Chart  I. 

30 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

In  1900,  more  than  14,000  men  and  over 
15,000  women  were  counted  as  bookbinders 
throughout  the  country. 

TABLE   3.— DISTRIBUTION    OF   WOMEN    BOOKBINDERS. 
UNITED  STATES,  1900* 


WOMEN  BOOK- 

BINDERS 

Residence 

Number 

Per  Cent 

New  York,  N.  Y. 

4,086 

26.1 

Chicago,  111. 

i,  612 

10.3 

Philadelphia,  Pa. 

1,168 

7-5 

Boston,  Mass. 

897 

5-7 

St.  Louis,  Mo. 

487 

3-1 

Washington,  D.  C. 

279 

.8 

Cambridge,  Mass. 

274 

.8 

Milwaukee,  Wis. 

267 

•7 

Jersey  City,  N.  J. 

265 

•7 

San  Francisco,  Cal. 

225 

•4 

Cincinnati,  O. 

215 

•4 

Buffalo,  N.  Y. 

208 

•3 

Cleveland,  O. 

172 

.1 

Baltimore,  Md. 

164 

.1 

Detroit,  Mich. 

158 

.0 

Other  cities  of  50  ooo  or  more 

2,372 

15.2 

Smaller  cities  and  country  districts 

2,783 

17.8 

Total  in  the  United  States. 

15,632 

1  00.0 

a  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.  Special  Reports,  Occupa- 
tions. 

Considered  geographically,  the  census  states  that 
four-fifths  of  the  bindery  women  in  the  United 
States  were  found  in  the  North  Atlantic  division, 
which  includes  the  three  cities  of  Boston,  Phila- 
delphia, and  New  York.*  Of  these  three  cities 

*  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.  Special  Reports,  Statistics 
of  Women  at  Work,  p.  196. 

31 


III. 


hllm 


O  UJ 

m  U 

o        Z 


N     <N  T* 


€  1  3  1  1  §  a  s  .§  .^  I 

3 


^u 

is 


. 

. 

= 


THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

the  census  reports  that  New  York  employed 
4,086,  Philadelphia,  1,168,  and  Boston,  897. 

Thus  Philadelphia  has  surrendered  to  New  York 
her  supremacy  of  the  time  of  Mathew  Carey. 
Chicago,  also,  employing  1,612  women,  had  out- 
stripped Philadelphia.  These  data  are  shown 
graphically  in  Chart  II. 

The  numbers  given  for  New  York  in  that  year 
are,  however,  not  representative  of  conditions  to- 
day. According  to  our  investigation,  verified  by 
comparison  with  the  records  of  the  State  Depart- 
ment of  Labor,  about  6,000  women  are  now  at  work 
in  binderies  in  the  borough  of  Manhattan  alone.* 
Table  4  shows  roughly  their  distribution  in  the 
different  branches  of  the  trade. 

TABLE   4— WOMEN    EMPLOYED    IN    BOOKBINDING    IN 

MANHATTAN  IN  1910,  BY  PRINCIPAL  PRODUCT  OF 

BINDERIES  AND  NUMBEROF  WOMEN  EMPLOYED* 


Product  of  Binderies 

WOMEN  IN  BIND- 
ERIES EMPLOYING 

ALL  WOMEN 

Less  than 
50  Women 

50  or  more 
Women 

Number 

Per  Cent 

Edition  workb 
Pamphlet   and    maga- 
zine work  only 
Job  and  art  binding    . 
Blankbook  making 

515 

.,338 

9* 
936 

2,433 
835 

2,948 

2,173 

9* 
936 

48 
35 

2 

15 

Total     . 

2,885 

3,268 

6,153 

IOO 

a  Information  on  this  point  was  secured  for  243  binderies,  although 
only  2 10  were  more  thoroughly  investigated.  In  all,  280  binderies, 
or  bindery  departments,  were  found  in  Manhattan.  Of  these,  37  did 
not  report  number  of  employes. 

b  Includes  binderies  with  important  pamphlet  departments,  but 
the  chief  work  in  each  case  is  edition. 

*  For  statement  as  to  sources  of  information  see  Note  at  close  of 
this^chapter,  pp.  36-37. 

3  33 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

Establishments  whose  chief  work  is  edition 
binding  employ  2,948  women,  or  48  per  cent  of 
the  total  number  found  at  work  in  this  investiga- 
tion. Binders  of  pamphlets  and  magazines  employ 
35  per  cent,  and  blankbook  makers  15  per  cent. 
Only  96  women  (2  per  cent)  work  in  hand  binderies. 
As  to  the  size  of  establishments,  the  table  shows 
that  the  largest  group  in  the  edition  branch  of  the 
trade  work  in  binderies  employing  50  or  more 
women,  while  the  majority  of  pamphlet  and  maga- 
zine binders  are  in  small  establishments.  All  the 
job  or  art  binderies  and  the  blankbook  manu- 
factories investigated  have  forces  of  less  than  50 
women.* 

NATIVITY  OF  BINDERY  WOMEN 

Commenting  on  the  fact  that  bookbinding  is  cen- 
tered in  the  large  cities  of  the  country,  the  census 
characterizes  it  as  "an  occupation  in  which  57.4 
per  cent  of  the  women  employed  are  the  daughters 
of  immigrants.''!  Without  knowing  the  names 

*  According  to  the  report  of  the  State  Department  of  Labor  for 
1910,  1,155  men  and  women  in  the  bookbinding  trade  in  New  York 
City  were  employed  in  shops  whose  force  numbered  less  than  20; 
4,706  worked  in  binderies  employing  20  to  199,  while  only  2,254  were 
in  establishments  employing  200  or  more.  Report  of  the  New  York 
State  Department  of  Labor,  Factory  Inspection,  1910,  p.  316. 

The  typical  form  of  ownership  has  been  the  individual  rather  than 
the  firm  or  corporation,  but  both  individual  and  firm  ownership  lost 
ground  in  New  York  between  1900  and  1905  while  corporation  owner- 
ship increased.  Of  all  the  binderies  in  the  state,  only  15.1  per  cent 
are  incorporated,  but  they  employ  49.8  per  cent  of  the  total  number 
of  wage-earners  in  the  industry.  U.  S.  Census,  Bulletin  59,  New 
York  State,  Manufactures,  p.  33,  1905. 

t  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.  Statistics  of  Women  at 
Work,  p.  35. 

34 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

of  the  countries  from  which  these  immigrants 
come,  however,  such  a  statement  would  give  a 
wrong  impression  of  the  nativity  and  extraction  of 
bindery  girls  in  New  York.  Of  16  trades  listed  in 
the  census  as  employing  1,000  or  more  women  in 
New  York,  bookbinding  actually  has  the  largest 
proportion  of  workers  of  native  parentage.  The 
birthplaces  of  the  girls  interviewed  in  this  investi- 
gation and  the  nativity  of  their  fathers  are  shown 
in  Table  5,  with  a  column  added  giving  the  cor- 
responding census  figures. 

TABLE  5.— NATIVITY  AND  NATIVITY  OF  PARENTS  OF 
WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING,  NEW  YORK  CITY 


Country 

of 
Birth 

DATA  OF  PRESENT  INVESTIGA- 

TJONa 

CENSUS 
FIGURES 

Women  Born 
as  Specified 

Women  with 
Fathers  Born 
as  Specified 

Women  with 
Parents  Born 
as  Specified** 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

United  States 
Ireland   . 
Germany 
Italy       .       . 
Russiac  . 
Great  Britain 
Other  Countries'1 

178 
3 
4 
7 
4 

i 

90.4 
1-5 

2.0 

3.6 

2.0 

•  5 

47 
59 

20 

3 

12 

,8.7 

3O.O 

12.2 
9.1 

49 

1.8 

7-3 

902 

I.79I 
670 

34 
72 

2|4 
363 

22.1 

43.8 
16.4 
.8 
1.8 

6.2 

8.9 

Total  .      . 

197 

IOO.O 

I64 

IOO.O 

4,086 

IOO.O 

»Of  201  women  interviewed,  4  did  not  supply  information  as  to 
nativity,  and  37  as  to  nativity  of  fathers. 

b  Both  parents  born  as  specified,  or  one  as  specified  and  the  other 
native  born.  Mixed  foreign  parentage  is  included  under  "other." 
Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.  Special  Reports,  Occupations, 
p.  640.  c  Including  Poland. 

d  Includes  Bohemia,  Scandinavia,  Canada,  France,  Australia. 

35 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

Of  the  girls  interviewed,  90  per  cent  were  born 
in  the  United  States  and  29  per  cent  were  of  native- 
born  parentage,  while  the  largest  group  (36  per 
cent)  were  children  of  Irish  fathers,  a  nationality 
not  regarded  as  "foreign "  in  New  York.  The  cen- 
sus figures  show  22  per  cent  native  parentage, 
and  44  per  cent  Irish,  but  in  the  rank  of  nations 
represented  the  census  in  a  general  way  confirms 
our  results,  even  though  the  proportions  are  not 
identical.  Judging  by  these  figures,  the  book- 
binding trade  in  New  York  is  an  excellent  occupa- 
tion in  which  to  study  the  conditions  of  employ- 
ment of  native  born,  wage-earning  women. 

NOTE  TO  CHAPTER  II 

Four  sources  of  information  are  considered  in  ascertaining  the 
number  of  women  employed  in  binderies  in  the  borough  of  Man- 
hattan,— the  census  statistics  of  population  in  1900,  the  census  sta- 
tistics of  manufactures  in  1900  and  in  1905,  the  report  of  the  New  York 
State  Department  of  Labor  for  the  years  ending  September  30,  1905, 
and  1910,  and  the  records  of  the  investigation  on  which  this  report 
is  based.  Both  the  census  figures  and  the  factory  inspectors'  reports 
include  other  minor  occupations  in  the  same  group  and  do  not  dis- 
tinguish the  different  branches  of  the  trade.  In  our  own  investiga- 
tion we  have  tried  to  ascertain  the  minimum  and  maximum  number 
of  women  employed  during  the  year,  but  frequent  changes  in  organ- 
ization made  it  very  difficult  to  secure  exact  information.  The 
interlocking  of  the  various  branches  of  the  trade  with  each  other 
and  with  allied  occupations  also  made  accurate  classification  almost 
impossible.  The  combined  data  show  some  contradictions. 

In  1900,  according  to  the  census  of  population,  4,086  women 
bookbinders  were  counted  in  households  in  New  York  City,  of  whom 
1,974  were  living  in  Manhattan  and  the  Bronx,  and  2,051  were 
living  in  Brooklyn.  (Undoubtedly  many  bindery  women  who  work 
in  Manhattan  live  in  Brooklyn,  and,  in  the  population  statistics, 
were  enumerated  in  Brooklyn.) 

In  1900,  according  to  the  census  of  manufactures,  3,119  women 
were  counted  in  binderies  in  New  York  City,  of  whom  2,957  were 
working  in  Manhattan  and  the  Bronx  and  162  were  working  in 
Brooklyn. 

36 


THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

In  1905,  according  to  the  report  of  the  State  Department  of 
Labor,  3,365  women  were  counted  in  binderies  in  New  York  City, 
of  whom  2,83 1  were  working  in  Manhattan  and  the  Bronx,  and  492 
in  Brooklyn. 

In  1905,  according  to  the  census  of  manufactures,  3,382  women 
were  counted  in  binderies  of  New  York  City,  of  whom  2,920  were 
working  in  Manhattan  and  the  Bronx,  and  462  were  working  in 
Brooklyn. 

In  1910,  according  to  the  report  of  the  New  York  State  Depart- 
ment of  Labor,  4,003  women  were  counted  in  binderies  in  New  York 
City,  of  whom  3,024  were  working  in  Manhattan  and  the  Bronx, 
and  964  were  working  in  Brooklyn. 

In  1908-10,  according  to  this  investigation,  6,153  women  were 
counted  in  binderies  in  Manhattan  alone.  For  the  purpose  of  veri- 
fying our  figures,  a  complete  list  of  binderies  investigated  in  Man- 
hattan was  sent  to  the  office  of  the  Department  of  Labor,  and  through 
the  courtesy  of  the  commissioner  the  facts  regarding  the  number 
of  employes  were  transcribed  from  the  department's  records  of 
inspections.  According  to  this  list  there  were  5,653  women  employed 
in  binderies  in  Manhattan.  Such  a  figure  may  be  reconciled  with 
our  own  data  by  bearing  in  mind  the  numerous  seasonal  changes 
in  the  trade.  The  discrepancy  between  it  and  the  published  report 
of  the  State  Department  of  Labor  is  due  to  the  fact  that  bindery 
departments  of  establishments  engaged  in  allied  occupations  are  some- 
times numbered  under  the  heading  of  the  allied  industry  rather  than 
counted  separately. 


37 


CHAPTER  III 
WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

WOM  EN  stand  only  on  the  threshold  of  the 
bindery  trade.  Their  work  is  chiefly  con- 
fined to  what  is  called  the  preparing  de- 
partment. They  fold  the  sheets  by  hand  or  by 
machine,  insert  one  within  another  or  gather  them 
in  sequence,  paste  in  pictures  or  maps,  and  sew 
the  sections  together  with  thread,  or  stitch  them 
with  wire.  In  pamphlet  binding  they  also  paste 
on  the  paper  covers,  but  in  edition  binderies  after 
the  books  have  been  sewed,  women  have  no  further 
share  in  the  binding  except  to  lay  gold  on  the 
covers  for  lettering  and  ornamentation,  and  to 
examine  and  wrap  the  completed  volumes.  Thus 
they  take  no  part  in  the  important  work  of  the 
forwarding  department,  which  includes  all  the 
processes  between  sewing  and  covering,  such  as  the 
trimming,  rounding  and  backing,  lining  up  and 
gluing,  and  gilding  the  edges.  In  the  finishing 
department,  where  the  boards  for  the  covers  are 
cut,  "cases"  made  by  covering  these  boards  with 
cloth,  titles  and  ornaments  stamped,  the  finished 
covers  attached  to  the  forwarded  books,  and  the 
volumes  placed  in  a  powerful  press,  the  only  tasks 
for  women  are  to  lay  the  gold  leaf  on  the  cover  be- 

38 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

fore  it  is  stamped,  and  then  to  examine  and  wrap 
the  books  when  they  are  ready  for  shipping. 

These  processes  differ  in  different  branches  of 
the  trade,  and  they  have  changed  with  the  develop- 
ment of  machinery.  Among  the  women  who  told 
us  about  their  trade  were  a  few  who  had  worked  in 
binderies  in  New  York  in  the  jo's  or  8o's.  One  of 
them  had  been  an  apprentice  thirty  years  earlier 
in  Dublin.  "We  did  only  the  best  of  work/'  she 
said,  "Moore's  Melodies,  Shakespeare,  and  the 
Bible.  We  bound  them  in  morocco  or  vellum. 
We  women  did  the  folding  and  the  sewing  and  a 
little  pasting.  But  now,"  she  added,  "the  ma- 
chines have  changed  it  all.  If  ye '11  look  at  a 
pamphlet,  ye'll  see  that  where  we  girls  used  to 
stitch  with  a  sharp  needle  and  a  linen  thread 
there's  naught  but  a  piece  of  wire."  Neverthe- 
less, the  wire  staple  has  not  taken  the  place  of  linen 
thread,  but  rather  the  industry  has  widened  to 
include  both  types  of  work.  Description  of  a  few 
typical  binderies  will  best  show  the  kinds  of  work 
women  are  doing. 

A  good  illustration  of  machine  methods,  used 
not  for  pamphlets  but  for  books,  is  found  in  the 
work  of  an  edition  bindery,  an  independent  es- 
tablishment which  has  neither  publishing  nor 
printing  departments,  and  does  no  pamphlet  or 
magazine  work.  The  firm  takes  orders  from  pub- 
lishers or  printers  who  have  no  bindery  plants. 
The  sheets  are  received  already  printed,  and  piled 
on  shelves  in  the  center  of  the  loft.  When  needed 

39 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

for  binding  they  are  placed  in  a  machine  which 
cuts  them  to  the  size  required  for  folding.  They 
are  then  carried  to  the  women's  department. 

The  different  methods  of  folding  the  sheets  il- 
lustrate changes  going  on  in  the  trade.  They  may 
be  fed  into  one  of  the  six  "point"  machines,  or 
placed  in  the  "automatic"  or,  very  rarely,  folded 
by  hand,  the  hand  tool  for  creasing  the  paper  being 
a  bone  "folder,"  not  unlike  a  dull  paper  cutter. 
If  the  point  machine  is  used,  a  girl,  sitting  on  a 
high  stool,  feeds  each  separate  sheet  into  the  ma- 
chine, placing  printed  dots  on  needle-like  points 
which  serve  as  guides.  The  machine  does  the 
rest,  driving  the  sheets  in  a  zigzag  course  down- 
ward and  toward  the  side,  making  a  fold  at  each 
turn,  and  finally  dropping  the  folded  sections 
neatly  into  a  box  standing  ready  to  receive  them. 
They  are  then  ready  for  the  "knockers  up"  to  lift 
out  and  "jog"  straight  on  a  nearby  table.  If  the 
sheets  are  to  be  folded  by  the  automatic  machine, 
men  employed  in  the  bindery  stack  them  under  two 
rubber  knuckles  which  push  the  sheets,  one  by 
one,  toward  the  folding  rollers.  The  only  work 
for  women  in  connection  with  this  machine  is  to 
see  that  it  folds  the  sheets  properly — a  task  which 
is  part  of  the  forewoman's  general  work  of  super- 
vision, and  finally  to  lift  the  folded  sections  from 
the  boxes  into  which  they  are  delivered — the 
work  of  young  girls  who  are  learners  in  the  trade. 
Between  the  point  machine  and  the  automatic  is 
another  invention,  the  drop-roll  folding  machine, 

40 


WOMEN  S  WORK    IN   THE    BINDERIES 

extensively  used  in  the  trade,  but  not  found  in  this 
bindery.  In  it  the  points  have  given  place  to 
automatic  gauges,  and  the  women  who  feed  it 
need  only  flick  each  sheet  from  the  pile  so  that  the 
machine  can  grip  it.  By  dispensing  with  the 
points  on  which  each  sheet  must  be  fitted,  time 
is  saved.  Obviously  the  next  step  was  to  sub- 
stitute rubber  knuckles  for  the  hands  of  women 
workers,  with  an  automatic  machine  as  the  result. 

After  the  sections  are  folded,  plates  or  maps  must 
be  pasted  in.  For  this  process,  hand  workers  are 
in  the  ascendancy  in  this  bindery  because  the  past- 
ing machine  is  still  on  trial  and  only  one  is  used. 
Six  girls,  employed  to  paste,  also  hand-fold  any 
sheets  which  do  not  fit  the  folding  machines. 

The  next  task  is  to  gather  the  folded  and  pasted 
sections  to  make  the  volume.  These  are  placed 
on  a  table  in  separate  piles,  arranged  in  the  order 
in  which  the  pages  of  the  book  must  follow  each 
other.  The  gatherer  walks  along  the  row,  taking 
a  section  from  each  pile  in  order  until  the  book  is 
complete.  Then  she  compares  it  with  a  model 
volume,  and  places  her  mark  upon  it  in  pencil, 
thus  making  herself  responsible  for  any  mistakes. 
This  examination  is  called  collating.  Sometimes 
the  gathering  is  done  by  one  set  of  girls  and  the 
collating  by  another.  A  gathering  machine  is  on 
the  market,  but  it  is  better  adapted  to  magazines 
than  to  books,  and  the  firm  whose  shop  we  are 
describing  has  not  purchased  one. 

All  the  sewing  in  this  establishment  is  done  by 
41 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

machines.  Four  girls  are  employed  to  feed  them, 
and  each  has  a  helper,  a  learner  who  cuts  the 
thread  between  attached  volumes.  These  tasks 
complete  the  work  of  the  women's  department.  In 
the  finishing  department,  where  the  covers  are 
made,  ornamented,  and  attached  to  the  books, 
three  girls  are  employed  to  lay  the  gold  on  the 
cover  before  it  is  placed  in  the  stamping  press, 
and  to  clear  off  the  superfluous  gold  after  the  title 
and  ornament  have  been  stamped.  Three  others 
examine  and  wrap  the  completed  volumes  for  ship- 
ping. In  all,  about  30  women  and  an  equal  number 
of  men  are  employed  in  this  establishment. 

It  is  in  the  magazine  branch  of  the  trade  that 
the  development  of  machines  has  been  most 
marked.  The  methods  of  work,  however,  depend 
upon  the  size  and  shape  of  the  magazine  and  the 
number  of  copies  printed.  For  small  issues  it 
may  not  pay  to  have  complicated  and  expensive 
machinery,  and  books  of  a  certain  shape  cannot  be 
handled  by  the  machines  now  on  the  market.  In 
one  establishment  in  New  York,  four  magazines 
are  printed  and  bound.  Three  are  the  familiar 
size  of  a  monthly  periodical,  about  10  inches  long 
by  7  inches  wide,  and  one  is  more  than  twice  as 
large.  The  three  small  magazines  are  folded  in 
the  printing  department,  thus  taking  out  of  the 
bindery  one  of  the  processes  usually  allotted  to 
women.  When  brought  from  the  printing  presses 
the  folded  sheets  are  stacked  in  piles  reaching  al- 
most to  the  ceiling.  Young  girls  do  this  work  of 

42 


CASE  MAKERS 


GATHERING  AND  WIRE-STITCHING  MACHINE 

(Next  in  order  are  the  covering  machine,  the  trimmer  or  cutter, 
and  girls  wrapping  and  mailing.  Note  cleanliness,  provision  for  venti- 
lation, space,  and  light.) 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

stacking,  which  is  called  "beating  up."  It  is  from 
these  piles  that  the  sections  are  taken  to  the  com- 
bined gathering  and  wire-stitching  machine.  The 
gathering  machine  has  a  succession  of  boxes,  one 
for  each  signature.  These  are  filled  in  proper 
order  by  girls,  and  the  machine  set  in  motion  by 
the  operator.  In  this  bindery  the  operator  is  a 
man,  although  in  some  very  large  shops  the  task 
has  been  assigned  to  women.  The  machine  takes 
a  section  from  each  box  and  when  the  gathering  is 
completed  passes  the  magazine  along  to  the  wire- 
stitching  machine  which  puts  in  the  wire  staple 
to  hold  the  pages  together.  This  obviates  the 
necessity  of  having  an  operator  place  each  book 
under  the  needle  and  press  the  pedal.  After 
being  covered,  also  by  machine,  the  magazine  is 
completed. 

The  fourth  magazine,  whose  pages  are  much 
larger,  requires  a  different  method  of  binding.  It 
is  neither  folded  on  the  printing  press  nor  collected 
by  the  gathering  machine.  Some  of  its  sheets  are 
fed  into  a  drop-roll  folding  machine  operated  by  a 
girl.  One  sheet,  a  two-fold,  is  folded  by  hand. 
Instead  of  being  gathered  one  on  top  of  another, 
the  sections  are  inserted  one  within  another,  with 
the  cover  as  the  outer  sheet.  When  gathered  they 
are  opened  at  the  center,  slipped  over  "the  saddle" 
of  the  wire-stitching  machine,  and  the  wire  in- 
serted. Thus  the  sections  are  stitched  together 
and  the  cover  put  on  in  one  operation. 

If  the  publishers  of  one  of  the  three  smaller 
43 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

magazines  should  decide  to  enlarge  the  size  of 
the  pages,  conditions  in  this  workroom  would 
be  changed.  The  gathering  machine  would  then 
be  in  operation  two  weeks  instead  of  three  as 
at  present,  additional  folding  machines  and  wire- 
stitchers  would  be  needed,  and  the  force  of  hand 
folders  and  inserters  would  be  doubled.  This  has 
actually  happened  in  another  magazine  bindery. 
Thus  the  apparently  simple  decision  of  an  editor, 
who  may  never  have  seen  the  binders  of  his  maga- 
zine, may  cause  a  complete  change  in  organization 
in  a  bindery. 

The  development  of  complex  machinery,  how- 
ever, has  not  done  away  with  the  old-fashioned  sew- 
ing machine,  nor  with  any  other  of  the  centuries-old 
processes  of  hand  binding.  These  are  still  needed 
in  the  rebinding  of  single  volumes  for  individuals, 
for  public  libraries,*  or  for  magazine  publishers 
who  want  the  year's  issue  preserved  in  one  book. 
In  one  of  these  hand  binderies  in  New  York  the 
force  of  girls  varies  from  three  to  10,  according 
to  the  season  and  the  orders  received.  When 
visited  in  the  course  of  this  investigation,  the 
maximum  force  of  10  women  and  about  twice  as 
many  men  was  employed.  One  girl  was  "taking 
apart "  books  to  be  rebound.  To  "take  apart "  a 
book  is  to  remove  the  covering  and  to  separate  the 
sections,  one  by  one,  so  that  they  are  ready  to  be 


*  In  the  New  York  public  libraries  alone,  the  number  of  volumes 
rebound  in  a  year  is  100,000.  They  are  not  of  uniform  size,  of 
course,  and  so  cannot  be  handled  by  machine. 

44 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

sewed  again.  The  pages  are  then  mended  or 
cleaned  if  necessary.  Another  woman  was  pasting 
in  guards  for  plates — the  name  given  to  the  full- 
page  illustrations  in  a  book.  Eight  women  were 
sitting  before  the  frames  which  are  used  for  hand 
sewing.  When  the  books  have  been  sewed,  they 
are  forwarded  and  finished  by  men.  As  the  covers 
are  tooled  and  not  stamped,  the  gold  is  applied 
when  the  tooling  is  done,  and  is  never  laid  on  in 
leaf  form  by  another  worker,  as  in  edition  binderies. 
This  establishment  is  typical  of  hand  binderies  in 
every  respect  except  in  the  number  of  women  em- 
ployed. Usually  not  more  than  two  or  three 
sewers  are  needed,  and  they  do  the  general  work 
of  taking  apart,  refolding,  if  necessary,  pasting, 
and  sewing. 

Thus  in  hand  binderies  also  the  girls'  work  is 
limited  to  a  few  preparatory  processes.  Although 
in  the  art  branch  of  the  trade,  where  the  hand 
methods  already  described  are  used,  a  few  women 
have  proved  that  they  can  successfully  and  ar- 
tistically bind  a  book  from  the  first  process  of 
folding  to  the  final  tooling,  they  have  not  yet  been 
successful  enough  from  the  commercial  point  of 
view  to  create  new  opportunities  for  any  large 
number  of  women  in  the  trade.  The  most  suc- 
cessful of  them  are  emphatic  in  their  warnings  that 
to  earn  a  living  by  executing  artistic  bindings  a 
woman  must  possess  a  rare  combination  of  the 
skill  of  artist,  craftsman,  and  business  woman,  and 
in  addition  she  must  work  hard,  concentrate  her 

45 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

efforts,  and  have  enough  capital  to  live  on  during 
the  apprenticeship  period  and  the  first  years  of 
her  career  as  a  bookbinder.  Women  art  binders, 
then,  are  so  few  in  number,  and  have  so  much 
more  in  common  with  the  arts  and  professions  than 
with  the  industry  of  bookbinding,  that  they  cannot 
be  regarded  as  representative  of  the  large  group  of 
girls  who  are  trying  to  earn  a  living  by  folding, 
or  knocking  up,  or  wire-stitching.  Nor  does  it 
appear  that  the  art  binder  is  blazing  a  trail  which 
is  likely  to  lead  these  other  workers  toward  larger 
opportunities.  The  typical  woman  bookbinder  is 
the  one  who  is  at  work  in  the  commercial  binderies 
performing  certain  tasks  known  in  the  trade  as 
women's  work. 

Although  in  one  sense  these  tasks  of  women  are 
merely  preliminary  processes,  nevertheless  they 
are  important,  and  require  speed  and  deftness  of 
touch.  Unless  women  do  their  part  well  the  book 
may  be  ruined.  In  hand  folding,  the  printing  on 
each  page  must  exactly  coincide  in  position  with 
that  on  the  other  pages,  so  that  when  the  book  is 
trimmed  the  margins  may  be  uniform.  Thus,  not 
the  edge  of  the  sheet  but  the  printing  on  the  page 
must  serve  as  a  guide.  Furthermore,  the  fold 
must  be  neat  and  true  and  well  creased.  To  deft- 
ness and  to  accuracy  must  be  added  speed.  A 
college  graduate  who  once  went  to  work  in  a  bind- 
ery practiced  hand  folding  for  four  weeks  without 
being  able  to  pass  beyond  the  stage  of  the  beginner. 

In  machine  folding,  an  understanding  of  hand 
46 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

folding  is  necessary  to  detect  errors  in  the  machine 
work,  and  in  addition  the  operator  must  have 
some  knowledge  of  the  working  of  the  machine  and 
be  able  to  feed  the  sheets  at  the  right  speed  to 
keep  pace  with  its  movement.  Very  much  the 
same  requirements — ability  to  detect  errors,  to 
handle  the  sheets  deftly  and  quickly,  and  to  man- 
age a  machine — are  necessary  in  the  work  of 
filling  the  boxes  of  the  gathering  machine  and  in 
operating  the  wire-stitching  machine  or  the  sewing 
machine.  To  run  the  sewing  machine,  however, 
is  considered  the  most  skilled  work  in  the  bindery, 
partly  because  the  books  which  are  sewed  are  more 
valuable  than  the  wire-stitched  pamphlet  or  maga- 
zine, and  partly  because  the  process  is  complex. 
To  touch  the  back  of  a  section  with  paste  and 
then  to  place  it  over  the  revolving  arm  of  the 
machine,  while  picking  up  the  next  section,  watch- 
ing the  threads,  and  throwing  aside  badly  folded 
or  mutilated  sheets,  requires  the  sort  of  co- 
operation of  head  and  hand  which  cannot  be  ac- 
quired without  long  practice. 

The  hand  work  too  must  be  carefully  done. 
"We  do  our  own  collating,"  said  one  girl,  who 
was  employed  as  a  gatherer  in  an  edition  bind- 
ery, "and  we're  so  afraid  of  making  a  mistake. 
They  used  to  have  collators  besides  the  gatherers, 
but  they  found  it  was  too  expensive.  When  two 
girls  work  together  we  don't  have  so  big  a  worry. 
If  you  come  to  the  end  of  your  book  and  find  two 
or  three  sheets  over,  you  wonder  what  has  become 

47 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

of  the  other  sheets.  You  know  you  must  have  left 
one  out  or  maybe  gathered  the  same  sheets  twice. 
Nobody  wants  to  buy  a  book  that's  got  two  sig- 
natures alike  in  it.  But  a  girl  who  had  been 
gathering  a  hundred  years  might  make  the  same 
mistake  as  one  that  had  been  at  it  three  months. 
When  you  do  one  thing  all  the  time  you  lose  the 
feeling  in  your  fingers, — you're  likely  to  pick  up 
two  sheets  at  a  time." 

"  It's  a  strain  in  bindery  work  to  be  sure  not  to 
make  mistakes,"  said  another  girl,  in  describing 
the  work  of  the  pasters.  "  A  book  is  easily  spoiled. 
1  know  a  girl  that  put  a  picture  of  Longfellow  in  a 
copy  of  'As  You  Like  It.'  Nobody  knew  it  until 
she  looked  at  another  girl's  book  that  had  a  picture 
of  Shakespeare.  She  said,  'That  doesn't  look  like 
the  picture  I  pasted.  He  was  a  funny  looking 
man,  but  not  as  funny  as  that.'  It's  bad  to  make 
mistakes  like  that.  If  the  customer  happens  to 
be  cranky,  the  book  comes  back."  Some  knowl- 
edge of  the  contents  of  books  is  an  asset  for  a 
bindery  girl. 

Description  of  the  demands  made  upon  bindery 
girls  or  of  the  conditions  under  which  they  work 
would  be  misleading  if  it  gave  the  impression  of 
uniformity  and  permanence  in  methods.  On  the 
contrary,  the  irregularity  of  work  and  the  fre- 
quent change  in  conditions  are  the  characteristics 
of  the  industry  which  seem  to  be  uppermost  in 
the  minds  of  bindery  girls  when  they  talk  about 
their  trade.  Again  and  again  a  conversation 

48 


WOMEN  S  WORK    IN   THE    BINDERIES 

would  begin  with  such  a  remark  as,  "  I  don't  ad- 
vise any  girl  to  go  into  bindery  work.  It's  a  very 
uncertain  trade.  You  never  know  when  you'll  be 
laid  off.  The  machines  are  driving  the  girls  out." 

The  machine  is  the  great  fact  which  looms  large 
before  the  eyes  of  bindery  women  when  they  de- 
scribe changes  in  their  trade.  They  accept  its 
introduction  as  they  would  accept  a  rainy  day, 
but  to  them  it  often  means  that  someone  in  the 
bindery  will  be  laid  off,  and  the  calamity  of  unem- 
ployment is  more  immediate  and  real  to  the 
workers  than  the  advantage  of  better  methods 
of  production  to  some  unknown  customer. 

A  survey  of  the  catalogues  of  machine  companies 
brings  a  vivid  realization  of  the  development  of 
machine  binding.  The  new  inventions  have  been 
so  fully  described  in  the  preceding  pages  that  it  is 
necessary  only  to  summarize  them  here.  In  place 
of  the  hand  folder  is  a  self-feeding  machine,  or  else 
an  attachment  on  the  printing  press  by  which  the 
process  of  folding  is  taken  away  from  the  bindery 
department.*  Inserting  may  be  done  by  machine. 
The  pasting  machine,  a  comparatively  recent  in- 

*  Recognizing  this  fact,  a  resolution  was  passed  by  the  Interna- 
tional Brotherhood  of  Bookbinders,  in  convention  in  June,  1908, 
which  read: 

"Whereas,  cutting  and  folding  machines  are  instruments  of  the 
bindery  and  as  such  should  be  conceded  to  be  under  the  jurisdic- 
tion of  International  Brotherhood  of  Bookbinders;  therefore  be  it 

"Resolved  By  the  delegates  of  this  nth  annual  convention  that 
the  President  stand  instructed  or  a  special  committee  be  appointed 
to  attend  the  pressmen's  convention  immediately  after  I.  B.  of  B. 
adjournment  to  present  a  suitable  set  of  resolutions  before  the  Inter- 
national Printing  Pressmen  and  Assistants'  union  for  ratification." 
International  Bookbinder,  Vol.  IX,  No.  6,  p.  172  (June,  1908). 

4  49 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

vention,  takes  the  place  of  the  girls  who  put  in  the 
"waste"  papers,  the  blank  sheets  at  the  front  and 
back  of  a  volume.  The  gathering  machine,  too 
recent  an  invention  to  have  made  its  way  into  all 
establishments,  may  rob  hand  gatherers  and  also, 
in  cheap  work,  collators  of  their  tasks.  Wire- 
stitching  machines  and  sewing  machines  are  no 
longer  regarded  as  innovations,  but  are  well  es- 
tablished throughout  the  trade.  In  many  bind- 
eries pamphlets  are  covered  by  machine.  From 
Germany  comes  a  rumor  of  an  attempt  to  construct 
an  attachment  for  the  stamping  press,  to  do  the 
work  now  done  by  gold  layers.  Finally,  there 
is  the  further  development  of  combination  ma- 
chines, which  perform  several  operations,  such  as 
folding,  inserting,  gathering,  and  wire-stitching. 
The  first  introduction  of  a  new  invention  is  but 
the  beginning  of  a  long  series  of  improvements. 
Manufacturers  of  machinery  usually  state  in  their 
catalogues  that  they  will  gladly  construct  any  new 
attachments  which  customers  may  desire.  The 
chief  argument  for  the  introduction  of  a  new  ma- 
chine is  usually  that  it  is  labor-saving.  To  save 
labor  often  means  to  dismiss  a  laborer,  and  behind 
the  stories  of  the  triumphs  of  the  inventors  one 
may  expect  to  find  the  equally  human,  if  less 
cheering,  stories  of  the  displaced  workers.  Their 
experiences  are  significant  in  so  far  as  they  illus- 
trate the  social  problem  of  industrial  readjust- 
ments. In  anticipation  of  facts  about  wages, 
reference  must  be  made  in  these  illustrations  to 

50 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

changes  in  earning  power  resulting  from  changes  in 
machines. 

One  girl  had  been  employed  in  bindery  work 
three  years.  As  a  learner  she  had  knocked  up 
sections  folded  by  the  point  machines.  When 
a  vacancy  occurred  she  was  given  a  chance  to 
operate  the  machine.  It  was  not  easy  to  learn, 
nor  could  it  be  done  in  a  day  or  a  week.  At  first 
she  received  a  weekly  wage  of  $4.50  as  a  learner, 
but  "advanced  rapidly"  until  she  was  earning 
$9.00  as  an  operator  of  the  machine.  One  day 
(it  was  on  Good  Friday,  1908,  she  said,  remember- 
ing the  time  vividly),  an  automatic  machine  ap- 
peared in  the  workroom  and  proved  so  successful 
that  it  was  used  in  preference  to  the  point  folders. 
This  girl  was  transferred  to  hand  folding,  which, 
she  says,  is  "terrible  work."  It  is  hard  to  earn  a 
living  wage  by  hand  folding;  a  cent  or  a  cent  and 
a  half  is  paid  for  folding  100  sheets  if  one  fold  is 
necessary.  If  the  sheets  are  large  and  heavy 
like  those  in  a  dictionary  the  work  of  folding  is 
very  exhausting,  although  the  pay  may  be  higher. 
This  girl  received  4  cents  a  hundred  for  folding  the 
pages  of  an  encyclopedia,  but  in  spite  of  her  efforts 
to  work  rapidly  she  could  not  earn  more  than  $7.00 
a  week.  At  4  cents  for  folding  100  sheets  a 
worker  to  earn  $7.00  must  fold  nearly  3,000  sheets 
in  a  day,  or  17,500  in  a  week.  Moreover,  each 
sheet  must  be  folded  three  times,  and  each  fold 
creased  smoothly  by  drawing  the  bone  folding  knife 
across  the  heavy  paper.  Even  this  laborious 

51 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

work,  however,  was  taken  away  from  her  when 
the  encyclopedia  was  finished.  The  forewoman 
thought  that  there  would  be  no  more  work  for 
"point  folders/'  and  advised  her  to  learn  some 
other  process  elsewhere.  She  went  to  a  bindery 
where  she  heard  a  point  folder  was  needed,  but 
the  machine  was  not  the  same  make  as  the  one 
which  she  had  been  operating,  and  therefore  she 
was  not  employed.*  After  a  fruitless  search  for 
work  in  her  trade,  she  found  employment  in  a 
neckwear  factory  as  a  learner  without  wages. 
Later,  as  an  experienced  operator  in  this  trade, 
she  earned  from  $7.00  to  $9.00  a  week. 

A  general  hand  worker  in  another  bindery  was 
laid  off  after  a  year's  employment  because  of  the 
introduction  of  a  folding  machine  which  could  be 
fed  by  a  boy.  "She  walked  the  streets  for  three 
weeks/'  said  her  mother,  "trying  to  find  work/' 
Then  she  became  a  waitress  in  a  restaurant  at 
$5.00  a  week,  plus  tips.  "There  is  much  better 
money  in  waitress  work  than  in  binderies,"  she 
said.  "They  can't  earn  good  wages  in  the  bind- 
ery trade  any  more  since  all  the  machines  have 
come  in.  When  I  told  an  old  bindery  hand  that  I 
earned  $6.00  piece  work  the  first  week  I  ever  did 
hand  folding,  she  wouldn't  believe  me.  She  said 
they  used  to  earn  that  much  years  ago,  but  not 
now." 

*  The  style  of  this  last  machine  was  so  out-of-date  that  inquiry  at 
the  office  of  its  maker  resulted  first  in  a  denial  that  the  firm  had  ever 
manufactured  any  folding  machines.  Finally  a  picture  of  it  was 
found  in  an  old  catalogue  issued  by  this  company. 

52 


WOMEN  S   WORK    IN   THE    BINDERIES 

An  operator  of  a  point  folding  machine  worked 
in  a  large  edition  bindery.  New  inventions  were 
introduced,  and  gradually  more  and  more  work  was 
transferred  to  them.  This  girl  was  paid  by  the 
piece,  instead  of  having  a  fixed  weekly  wage,  and 
her  earnings  were  depressed  steadily  as  the  machine 
which  she  was  operating  fell  into  disuse.  She  had 
learned  only  two  other  processes,  hand  folding  and 
filling  the  boxes  of  the  gathering  machine.  No 
gathering  machine  was  used  in  this  bindery,  and 
the  prices  for  hand  folding  were  not  high  enough 
to  yield  a  living  wage.  The  forewoman  offered 
to  teach  her  to  gather  by  hand.  Gathering  is  not 
easy  work.  "At  first,"  the  girl  said,  "I  was  so 
tired  at  night  I  could  hardly  keep  my  eyes  open 
at  supper.  I  wish  I  had  one  of  those  things  you 
put  on  your  feet  to  measure  the  distance  you  walk; 
I'd  like  to  know  how  many  miles  I  walk  in  a  day. 
There  are  no  boys  to  carry  our  work.  The  folding 
machines  are  at  the  other  end  of  the  bindery,  and 
we  carry  the  work  the  distance  from  one  street 
to  another.  That's  a  block."  Her  experience  in 
handling  sheets,  however,  made  it  possible  for  her 
to  learn  the  new  process  easily,  so  that  by  the  end 
of  six  months  she  was  earning  approximately 
from  $10  to  J5i  i  a  week,  piece  work,  whereas  the 
point  folding  machine  had  yielded  her  a  maximum 
wage  of  only  $9.00  or  $10. 

A  girl  who  had  been  employed  in  the  bindery 
trade  for  four  years  was  an  expert  operator  of  a 
wire-stitching  machine  in  a  magazine  bindery. 

53 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

Her  wages,  at  piece  rates,  ranged  from  $10  to  $15. 
Then  a  combination  gathering  and  wire-stitching 
machine  was  purchased.  She  was  offered  the 
work  of  filling  the  boxes  of  the  new  machine  at  a 
weekly  wage  of  $8. 10  (15  cents  an  hour).  She  re- 
fused, and  secured  work  in  another  bindery  in  the 
same  building,  where  the  new  invention  had  not 
yet  been  introduced,  and  where  operators  of  wire- 
stitching  machines  were  still  in  demand.  But 
her  earnings  here  ranged  from  $10  to  $12,  instead 
of  from  $10  to  $15. 

Another  displaced  worker  was  one  of  12  gath- 
erers who  were  laid  off  when  a  gathering  machine 
was  introduced.  She  had  been  employed  in  the 
same  bindery  nine  years,  and  in  the  two  busy  weeks 
of  the  month  she  had  earned  $3.00  and  sometimes 
$4.00  in  a  day.  The  machine  was  purchased  in 
September,  1904.  This  girl  and  two  others  were 
retained  for  a  remnant  of  hand  gathering  until  the 
following  January.  "We  cost  the  firm  money," 
she  said,  "because  there  was  a  boy  to  carry  sheets 
for  us  at  $6.00  a  week,  and  we  were  making  good 
wages."* 

In  the  slack  weeks  of  the  month  this  girl  had 
been  transferred  occasionally  to  the  office  of  the 
bindery.  When  she  lost  her  position  it  occurred 
to  her  that  she  might  address  envelopes,  fold  cir- 
culars for  mailing,  and  do  general  office  work  in 


*  Four  years  later  the  foreman  stated  that  the  machine  had 
saved  the  firm  nearly  $30  a  day  in  wages,  because  of  its  labor-saving 
character  and  its  greater  productive  power. 

54 


GATHERING  BY  HAND 


GATHERING  MACHINE 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

some  other  establishment.  Two  employment  bu- 
reaus discouraged  her  in  this  ambition  for  a  com- 
mercial career,  and  she  finally  applied  at  another 
bindery  where  her  special  work  was  to  insert  one 
folded  sheet  within  another.  Employment  was 
steady  throughout  the  month,  and  her  average 
earnings  were  " about  as  much"  as  in  her  previous 
occupation. 

In  another  bindery  a  gathering  machine  was 
installed  on  trial,  and  three  or  four  collators  were 
transferred  to  the  work  of  filling  the  boxes.  The 
machine  did  not  prove  satisfactory,  and  the  girls 
went  back  to  their  hand  work.  Knowing,  how- 
ever, that  inventors  were  busily  striving  to  im- 
prove their  mechanical  devices,  collators  and 
gatherers  alike  were  numbering  their  days,  in  ex- 
pectation of  another  reorganization  of  their  work. 

One  gatherer,  who  had  had  long  experience, 
"made  a  fuss"  when  the  gathering  machine  was 
introduced,  and  backed  by  her  trade  union  (an 
organization  to  be  described  later),  she  was  given 
an  opportunity  to  operate  it  at  a  wage  of  $18,  the 
regular  rate  paid  to  men  for  this  work.  She  was 
successful,  and  the  position  was  assigned  her  per- 
manently. Young  girls  were  employed  to  fill  the 
boxes.  The  other  gatherers  were  obliged  to  learn 
other  processes  in  this  establishment  or  seek  work 
elsewhere. 

Another  worker  had  inserted  the  sheets  of  a 
weekly  periodical,  earning  a  maximum  wage  of 
$14  a  week,  at  piece  rates,  when  working  over- 

55 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

time.  A  machine  was  introduced  which  folded, 
gathered,  inserted,  and  wire-stitched  the  maga- 
zine. It  was  operated  by  a  man,  and  this  girl 
with  a  dozen  others  was  laid  off.  After  working 
only  one  week  in  a  pamphlet  bindery  where  both 
"night  and  day  gangs"  of  women  were  employed, 
she  left  because  she  was  to  be  transferred  to  the 
night  shift.  The  girls  who  worked  at  night  "  looked 
so  worn  out,"  she  said.  Two  weeks  later  she  found 
work  as  examiner  and  wrapper  in  an  edition  bind- 
ery, with  a  drop  in  wages  from  $14  to  $5.00  a  week. 

The  important  fact  common  to  all  these  stories 
is  that  no  systematic  effort  was  made  to  prevent 
the  maladjustment,  which  was  due  not  to  the  in- 
efficiency of  the  workers,  but  to  change  in  in- 
dustrial organization.  The  displaced  employes 
were  given  no  chance  to  prepare  for  these  changes; 
the  appearance  of  the  machine  in  the  workroom 
was  usually  their  first  warning  that  they  must  seek 
other  occupations.  Yet  the  changes  were  not 
violent,  but  merely  a  gradual  development  of 
mechanical  devices.  Sometimes  weeks  passed 
before  the  worker  finally  left  the  bindery,  after 
having  been  transferred  to  other  processes.  But 
in  the  unguided  attempt  to  learn  new  processes 
or  find  other  positions  there  was  much  wasted 
effort  and  loss  of  time. 

It  does  not  appear  that  this  loss  of  time  was  a 
necessary  evil.  On  the  contrary,  it  seems  very  evi- 
dent that  solutions  were  possible,  and  that  the  suf- 
fering of  the  [workers  was  due  to  the  fact  that 

56 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

readjustments  were  matters  of  chance  rather  than 
of  forethought. 

Almost  as  important  as  the  introduction  of 
machinery  is  the  failure  to  introduce  it.  Natur- 
ally all  the  larger  establishments  use  machinery, 
although  not  always  the  newest  models.  None 
of  those  employing  50  or  more  women  reported 
that  they  had  no  machinery,  but  small  establish- 
ments frequently  lack  it.  Of  210  binderies  in 
which  this  question  was  asked  174  used  some 
machine;*  36  firms  owned  no  machines.  Only  17 
had  gathering  machines;  90  had  folding  machines. 

Many  employers,  especially  in  small  binderies,  dis- 
cussed the  use  of  machinery  and  gave  their  reasons 
for  not  introducing  it.  "The  machine  changes  all 
the  time,"  said  one,  who  specialized  in  one  process 
only, — numbering  checks,  bonds,  insurance  poli- 
cies, etc.  "  I  can't  risk  the  capital  for  a  machine 
which  might  change  soon  again.  I'd  rather  stick 
to  one  line.  Then  I  can  give  out  other  processes  to 
another  binder  and  make  one  or  two  cents  on  the 
thousand  without  any  risk.  That's  why  so  many 
binderies  give  out  their  work.  The  machines 
change  so  fast.  I  get  most  of  my  orders  from  other 
binders." 

Another  employer  said  that  he  had  paid 
$1,600  for  a  folding  machine  but  that  it  was  very 
seldom  used.  The  girls  in  the  bindery  all  could 
fold  by  hand,  and  he  preferred  to  give  the  work  to 

*  Includes  folding,  sewing,  wire-stitching,  gathering,  numbering 
machines,  etc. 

57 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

them  when  they  had  nothing  else  to  do.  "  I  have 
a  girl  coming  on  Monday  to  do  hand  sewing/'  said 
another.  "We  have  no  sewing  machine.  I  had 
an  order  recently  which  required  the  sewing  ma- 
chine but  I  could  give  that  part  of  the  work  to 
another  bindery." 

One  bookbinder  said  that  he  would  prefer  to 
use  a  gathering  machine  since  it  would  be  cheaper 
than  hand  work,  but  that  it  would  fill  half  the  work- 
room and  he  could  not  afford  the  space  for  it. 
Another  said  that  it  would  not  pay  to  have  a 
gathering  machine,  because  there  would  not  be 
enough  work  for  it.  Still  another,  who  specialized 
in  small  orders  for  blankbooks,  said  that  his  work 
was  chiefly  in  lots  of  1,000  or  2,000,  and  that  the 
gauge  of  the  machine  would  have  to  be  changed 
too  often  to  make  its  use  practicable.  Nor  would 
there  be  enough  work  to  keep  the  machine  in 
operation  all  day.  Another  bindery  had  no  ma- 
chinery for  gathering,  inserting,  or  covering. 
The  foreman  said  that  "it  paid  better  to  give  this 
work  to  a  bindery  which  had  the  machines." 

Another  employer  had  not  bought  a  pasting 
machine  because  it  was  "not  yet  practicable  for 
anything  but  small  work/'  The  reason  given  in 
one  bindery  for  having  no  gathering  machine  was 
that  it  was  "adapted  only  for  long  runs,"  such 
as  large  issues  of  magazines.  Finally,  in  one  of 
the  largest  establishments  a  magazine  is  still  gath- 
ered by  hand  because,  it  was  said,  the  numerous 
plates  in  the  periodical  divide  it  into  more  sections 

58 


WOMEN  S   WORK    IN   THE    BINDERIES 

than  there  are  boxes  in  the  ordinary  gathering 
machine.  This  defect,  obviously,  would  soon  be 
remedied  and  the  machine  installed.  Of  the  28 
gatherers,  "five  or  six  of  the  best  would  be  re- 
tained"; the  others  would  be  laid  off. 

In  some  binderies,  of  course,  the  newest  ma- 
chines are  purchased  as  soon  as  they  are  placed  on 
the  market.  Their  owners  have  pointed  out  the 
results :  more  systematic  organization  of  the  work, 
specialization  both  in  the  line  of  work  done  by  the 
bindery,  and  in  the  processes  assigned  to  each  em- 
ploye; and  sometimes  a  decrease  in  the  force  of 
women  employed. 

"The  machines  have  cut  our  force  in  half,"  said 
one  employer.  "Seven  or  eight  years  ago  we  em- 
ployed 60  or  70  girls.  Now  we  have  30  with  just 
as  large  an  output."  "Last  year  we  had  70  or  80 
girls.  We  bought  some  machines  and  now  we  have 
30  or  40,"  said  a  forewoman.  This  sounds  like  a 
contradiction  of  the  census  figures  showing  in- 
crease in  the  size  of  establishments  measured  by 
number  of  employes.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  both 
the  workers'  impression  of  unemployment  as  the 
result  of  introducing  new  machines,  and  the  census 
facts  about  growth  in  numbers  following  after  any 
improvement  in  mechanical  methods,  are  true. 
Unemployment  comes  first  and  growth  later,  and 
changing  processes  result  in  a  change  in  person- 
nel in  the  workroom.  These  changing  processes 
might  often  pave  the  way  for  a  possible  improve- 
ment in  conditions  of  employment  if  more  atten- 

59 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

tion  were  given  to  the  workers'  problems  during 
the  transitional  period. 

One  of  the  most  definitely  organized  workrooms 
in  New  York  is  owned  by  a  man  whose  policy  is 
always  to  use  the  newest  inventions.  "  If  you 
were  to  tell  him  there  was  a  new  machine  on  the 
market/'  said  his  foreman,  "he'd  get  rid  of  one  he 
bought  a  month  ago,  and  put  it  in."  Twelve 
girls  are  employed,  and  a  definite  wage  is  paid  for 
each  process.  One  girl  is  employed  to  feed  the 
drop-roll  folding  machines ;  four  girls  take  the 
sheets  from  the  automatic  folder  and  jog  them 
straight,  ready  for  gathering;  one  fills  the  boxes  of 
the  gathering  machine,  to  which  a  wire-stitcher  is 
attached;  one  takes  the  completed  books  from  the 
covering  machine,  which  is  operated  by  a  man; 
and  five  are  employed  to  wrap  the  copies  for  mail- 
ing. 

In  another  bindery,  where  magazines  and  cheap 
paper-covered  novels  are  bound,  the  use  of  ma- 
chines is  largely  due  to  the  enterprise  of  the  super- 
intendent. Two  years  ago  a  great  deal  of  the 
work  was  done  by  hand.  The  superintendent 
made  an  offer  to  the  firm  to  lease  the  bindery 
from  them  on  a  fifteen  years'  contract,  buy  ma- 
chinery, and  do  their  binding  at  a  lower  rate  than 
it  had  cost  with  the  system  of  hand  work.  Mem- 
bers of  the  firm  were  interested  and  decided  to 
buy  several  machines,  which  the  superintendent 
said  had  paid  for  themselves  within  six  months. 
Following  the  introduction  of  machines,  a  defi- 

60 


WOMEN  S   WORK    IN   THE    BINDERIES 

nite  minimum  rate  per  hour  was  attached  to  each 
process  except  wire-stitching  and  a  small  rem- 
nant of  hand  gathering. 

The  way  in  which  machinery  breaks  up  a  trade 
into  establishments  which  make  a  specialty  of  one 
branch  of  work,  has  been  noted.  The  other  form 
of  specialization  is  illustrated  in  the  case  of  em- 
ployes who  practice  only  one  process  in  the  work- 
room. This  sort  of  specialization  does  not  seem 
to  be  unavoidable.  In  the  bindery  described  in 
the  preceding  paragraph,  "all  round"  workers  are 
in  demand,  and  those  who  can  turn  from  one  proc- 
ess to  another  are  not  laid  of?  so  often  as  those 
who  know  only  one  process.  But,  however  great 
may  be  the  demand  for  employes  experienced  in 
more  than  one  line  of  work,  it  is  the  tendency  of 
machinery  to  force  a  worker  to  practice  only  one. 
If  a  girl  is  a  "piece  worker/'  to  lose  practice  means 
to  lose  wages.  On  the  other  hand,  the  machine 
will  not  yield  its  maximum  profit  unless  it  is  kept 
in  constant  operation.  Thus,  while  general  prac- 
tice in  all  branches  of  the  trade  brings  to  the 
worker  a  very  desirable  power  of  adjustment 
to  changing  conditions,  nevertheless,  the  em- 
ployer's wish  to  keep  his  machines  in  motion,  and 
the  piece  workers'  eagerness  not  to  lose  the  speed 
which  comes  from  constant  practice,  both  tend  to 
organize  the  bindery  force  into  separate  depart- 
ments, whose  workers  are  not  interchangeable. 
The  same  demand  of  the  machine,  that  it  be  fed 
with  enough  work  to  keep  it  in  constant  motion, 

61 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

forces  the  employer  either  to  specialize  in  one  de- 
partment, or  to  secure  more  orders  and  to  enlarge 
his  establishment. 

It  is  obvious  that  the  larger  the  establishment, 
the  more  successful  will  be  the  attempt  to  keep 
every  machine  in  motion  throughout  the  working 
day.  "Establishments  are  now  so  large  that  a 
woman  learns  only  one  process,"  said  one  superin- 
tendent. "  For  example,  she  becomes  a  sewer  and 
does  nothing  but  that."  In  the  light  of  this  fact, 
the  census  figures*  are  significant:  New  York 
state  had  only  six  more  binderies  in  1905  than 
in  1900  (304  in  1905,  298  in  1900),  an  increase 
of  2  per  cent,  while  the  number  of  wage-earners 
was  increased  by  832,  or  n.6  per  cent.  Of  the 
total  number  of  7,984  wage-earners  in  1905,  more 
than  half,  4,306,  were  employed  in  26  large  estab- 
lishments. Thus  the  tendency  seems  to  be  to 
enlarge  the  establishment,  and  this  may  cause 
more  pronounced  specialization. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  larger  the  establishment, 
the  greater  the  choice  of  processes  for  those  work- 
ers who  have  had  opportunity  to  learn  more  than 
one  branch  of  the  trade.  It  is  easier  to  be  trans- 
ferred from  one  department  to  another  under  the 
same  roof  than  to  seek  work  elsewhere. 

But  the  workers  are  not  always  able  to 
take  advantage  of  such  possible  transfers,  for 
specialization  affects  also  their  ability  to  turn 
from  one  kind  of  product  to  another.  In  a 

*  See  pp.  27,  28. 
62 


WOMEN  S  WORK    IN   THE    BINDERIES 

large  bindery  in  New  York  several  periodicals 
are  bound.  A  girl  employed  there  complained  of 
the  irregularity  of  her  work.  "It  seems  pretty 
hard/'  she  said,  "to  have  to  stay  home  two  days 
in  the  week  and  then  have  to  work  so  hard  the 
other  days."  Her  irregular  employment  was  due 
to  the  different  methods  of  binding  the  different 
periodicals.  Two  weekly  magazines  are  brought 
to  the  bindery  on  Tuesday  and  must  be  mailed  on 
Thursday.  Hand  folders  and  wire-stitchers  are 
needed  to  bind  them.  An  engineers'  magazine 
must  be  bound  Tuesday  and  Friday.  The  work 
on  this  is  hand  folding,  gathering  by  machine,  and 
sewing  by  machine,  instead  of  wire-stitching. 
Another  publication  is  brought  from  the  printer 
on  Friday  and  issued  on  Monday.  It  is  folded  by 
machine  and  wire-stitched.  On  Friday  evening 
and  Saturday  there  is  no  work  for  a  hand  folder  or 
an  operator  of  the  sewing  machine.  Wednesday 
is  the  busiest  day  in  the  bindery.  Two  magazines 
must  be  completed  for  the  mailers  on  Thursday. 
Overtime  is  usual  on  that  day.  This  girl  could  fold 
by  hand,  fill  the  gathering  machine,  and  operate 
the  sewing  machine.  She  worked  from  Tuesday 
to  Friday.  She  reported  that  at  hand  folding 
she  could  earn  75  cents  or  $i  .00  a  day.  For  filling 
the  gathering  machine  the  rate  was  18  cents  an 
hour,  or  $1.53  a  day.  But  neither  of  these  pro- 
cesses lasted  six  days  in  the  week  so  that  her 
earnings  during  the  previous  three  weeks  had 
been  $3.19,  $7.75,  and  $3.21.  If  she  had  been 

63 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

steadily  employed  she  could  have  earned  from 
$5.00  to  $8.00  a  week  as  a  hand  folder,  or  $9.09 
for  filling  the  gathering  machine.  Had  she  un- 
derstood machine  folding  or  wire-stitching  she 
might  have  worked  every  day.  Not  lack  of  work 
to  be  done,  but  inability  to  turn  from  one  process 
to  another  was  responsible  for  the  irregular 
employment  of  the  specialized  workers  in  this 
bindery. 

Moreover,  when  different  kinds  of  orders  de- 
mand different  processes,  the  specialist  must  be 
prepared  to  face  not  only  change  in  machinery, 
but  change  in  the  size  or  character  of  her  employer's 
orders.  Recently  a  magazine  which  had  been 
gathered  by  machine  was  enlarged  by  doubling 
the  size  of  its  pages.  Thereafter  a  force  of  in- 
serters was  employed  and  there  was  no  work  for 
gatherers.  In  another  bindery  a  girl  who  had 
been  employed  to  operate  the  sewing  machine  in 
the  book  department  was  transferred  to  the  maga- 
zine department  where  her  work  was  to  look  over 
sheets  folded  by  machine  and  to  fill  the  boxes  of 
the  gathering  machine.  Her  pay  was  reduced 
from  $10  to  a  wage  varying  from  $5.00  to  $7.00,  ac- 
cording to  the  kind  of  work  assigned  to  her.  This 
transfer  from  work  on  one  product  to  another  re- 
quiring different  processes  was  due  to  the  fact  that 
much  of  the  book  work  formerly  done  by  this  firm 
depended  upon  orders  from  a  large  publishing  house 
which  had  recently  organized  its  own  bindery. 

If  we  trace  the  history  of  the  folding  or  the 
64 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

gathering  machine  we  find  that  with  the  develop- 
ment of  automatic  feeding  devices  the  tendency  is 
to  dispense  with  the  work  of  women  and  to  em- 
ploy men  merely  to  care  for  the  machines.  This 
change  is  not  a  displacement  of  women  workers  by 
men,  but  a  reorganization  of  the  force  due  to  the 
substitution  of  rubber  fingers,  or  other  automatic 
feeders,  for  women  workers. 

What  then  is  the  meaning  of  the  census  figures 
cited  in  the  last  chapter,  which  tell  us  that  in  1870, 
30  per  cent  of  the  bookbinders  were  women  and 
70  per  cent  were  men,  while  in  1900,  5 1 .6  per  cent 
were  women  and  48.4  per  cent  were  men?  This 
rapid  shifting  of  the  relative  proportion  of  men  and 
women  would  lead  the  statistician  to  suppose  that 
in  this  trade  was  to  be  found  a  perfect  example  of 
the  displacement  of  men  by  women.  Behind  the 
figures  one  seems  to  read  the  story  of  a  struggle  in 
which  men  have  been  losers.  Yet  the  comments 
of  workers  and  employers,  and  the  conditions 
observed  in  binderies,  contradict  this  conclusion. 
Evidently  more  facts  are  needed  to  jthrow  light  on 
the  census  figures. 

In  the  absence  of  any  data  as  to  the  number  of 
men  and  women  employed  in  different  branches 
of  the  trade  in  1870  and  in  1900,  the  answer  must 
be,  in  part,  merely  hypothetical.  Judging  by  the 
present  tendencies  in  the  trade,  the  cause  of  the 
change  in  the  proportion  of  men  and  women  would 
appear  to  be  two-fold.  It  has  been  pointed  out 
that  the  share  of  women  in  hand  binding  is  rela- 
5  65 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

tively  small,  that  they  do  only  the  folding,  gather- 
ing, and  sewing,  and  that  the  numerous  processes 
of  forwarding  and  finishing  have  been  usually  in 
the  hands  of  men.  Hence,  in  the  early  days  of 
the  trade  when  hand  binderies  predominated,  men 
were  in  the  majority.  In  the  development  of  the 
industry,  two  important  changes  took  place. 
With  the  introduction  of  machinery  many  pro- 
cesses of  forwarding  and  finishing  were  omitted, 
while  others  were  combined  in  one  simple  operation, 
thus  lessening  the  relative  number  of  men  needed 
in  edition  binderies.  At  the  same  time,  the  greatly 
increased  production  of  pamphlets  which  need 
only  be  folded,  gathered,  stitched,  and  covered, 
enlarged  the  demand  for  the  processes  always  done 
by  women.  Thus  it  would  appear  that  without 
any  shifting  of  the  line  between  men's  work  and 
women's  work,  the  proportion  of  women  steadily 
increased  between  1870  and  1900. 

If  during  the  three  decades  between  1870  and 
1900  there  was  a  struggle  between  men  and 
women,  with  a  transfer  of  processes  to  women, 
it  seems  to  have  left  no  trace  on  present  trade  con- 
ditions. We  found  instances  of  this  kind  of  trans- 
fer so  scattered  as  to  seem  to  be  the  exceptions  to 
prove  the  rule.  One  girl,  who  had  learned  the 
trade  in  a  small  bindery,  had  had  practice  in  almost 
every  process  of  men's  work.  Finally,  however, 
she  learned  gold  laying,  and  confined  herself  to 
that  branch  of  the  trade.  Another  girl,  employed 
in  an  edition  bindery,  "sets  up"  several  folding 

66 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

machines;  in  other  binderies  the  same  work  is 
done  by  men.  One  girl  cut  leather  corners  for 
blankbooks;  when  she  was  laid  off  she  could  not 
find  work  because  in  other  establishments  boys  are 
employed  for  this  process.  A  forewoman  in  a 
bindery  told  of  a  man  and  his  daughter  who  had 
worked  together  "casing-in"  books,  a  process 
usually  done  by  men.  ''They  made  good  money/' 
she  said,  "but  now  the  union  is  strong  enough  to 
keep  the  women  out."  One  girl /had  been  em- 
ployed to  "pinch"  books  and  to  use  the  round 
cornering  machine.  These  things  are  usually 
done  by  men,  but  the  establishment  was  small 
when  she  began,  and  girls  did  some  of  the  men's 
work.  Another  girl  described  with  some  amuse- 
ment the  way  in  which  she  had  pasted  canvas  on 
boards  at  30  cents  per  hundred,  taking  the  work 
from  a  man  who  had  been  earning  a  rate  of  40 
cents.  In  one  large  edition  bindery  a  woman 
cares  for  some  of  the  machines  with  the  skill  of  a 
trained  machinist. 

But  these  are  exceptional  cases.  The  possi- 
bility of  carrying  on  more  processes  than  at  present 
fall  to  their  share  in  the  trade  does  not  appear 
to  be  a  burning  question  among  the  majority  of 
women.  "The  women  would  just  say,  'That's 
men's  work,'"  replied  one  employer,  when  asked 
the  attitude  of  his  women  employes  regarding  an 
extension  of  their  opportunities.  One  girl,  who 
had  fed  a  ruling  machine,  a  task  requiring  no  skill, 
was  asked  if  she  had  ever  wished  to  learn  to  operate 

67 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

the  machine.  "Oh,  no,"  she  said,  "ruling  is  gentle- 
men's work.  There  are  no  lady  rulers.  The  gen- 
tlemen have  their  hands  in  the  ink  pot  all  day, 
and  no  lady  wants  to  get  her  hands  inked  like 
that."  "A  woman  can  learn  to  feed  the  ruling 
machine  in  a  day,"  another  explained.  "She 
doesn't  need  to  bother  with  managing  it."  "The 
smell  of  the  glue  is  awful,"  said  another,  speaking 
of  covering  books.  "It's  a  man's  work."  Still 
another,  describing  a  machine  which  could  fold, 
gather,  and  insert,  said,  "It's  a  man's  work," 
although  each  of  these  processes  formerly  had 
belonged  to  women. 

Nor  do  employers  appear  to  have  given  much 
thought  to  the  question.  One,  an  art  binder, 
said  that  the  work  of  women  was  restricted  only 
by  the  men's  trade  union,  and  that  women  were 
capable  of  doing  men's  work.  He  added,  how- 
ever, that  a  woman  would  find  it  difficult  to  work 
fast  enough  to  make  her  employment  profitable  in 
processes  commonly  done  by  men.  Another,  the 
superintendent  of  an  edition  bindery,  said  that 
the  tasks  of  women  were  restricted  by  their  lack 
of  capacity,  not  by  the  rule  of  any  organization; 
they  would  not  have  strength  to  handle  the  ma- 
chines which  the  men  operate.  Another,  a  job 
binder,  asserted  that  he  employed  women  for  tem- 
porary work  only,  because  they  were  not  strong 
enough  to  lift  books  and  "be  generally  useful." 
"  If  you  employ  a  woman,  you  can't  give  her  any- 
thing but  sewing,"  said  another  job  binder,  "while 

68 


PRESS  AND  PLOW  MACHINE 
(The  primitive  way  of  plowing  or  cutting) 


TRIMMING  MAGAZINES 
(The  new  method) 


WOMEN'S  WORK  IN  THE  BINDERIES 

a  man  can  turn  his  hand  to  other  things."  On 
the  contrary,  the  superintendent  of  a  magazine 
bindery  declared  that  there  was  no  process  in  his 
workroom  which  could  not  be  done  by  women.  "  I 
could  put  a  girl  to  work  operating  the  cutting 
machine/'  he  said,  "if  I  paid  her  $18  a  week.  I 
know  two  big  binderies  where  women  are  operating 
the  gathering  machines  and  earning  $18  a  week. 
1  could  have  a  woman  tend  the  large  folding  ma- 
chine if  I  paid  her  the  same  as  the  union  scale  for 
men.  I  don't  know  why  I  don't,  except  that  I 
see  no  good  reason  why  I  should." 

In  the  course  of  the  inquiry,  instances  of  the 
transfer  of  women's  work  to  men  or  boys  were 
found  to  be  more  numerous  than  the  reverse.  Men 
were  at  work  operating  folding  machines  and 
sewing  machines,  feeding  the  ruling  machine,  and 
folding  and  sewing  by  hand.  Boys  were  found 
emptying  the  boxes  of  the  folding  machine,  sewing 
by  hand,  cleaning  off  the  books  after  they  had 
been  stamped,  and  operating  the  wire-stitching 
machines.  The  development  of  automatic  feeding 
devices  for  the  folding  machine  and  the  invention 
of  gathering  machines  and  covering  machines  have 
caused  these  processes  also  to  be  transferred  to  men 
in  many  binderies.  Indeed,  the  census  of  1905 
showed  that,  in  New  York  City,  in  the  five  years 
since  1900,*  the  number  of  bindery  women  had  not 
increased  so  rapidly  as  the  number  of  men,  and 

*Compare  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.  Manufactures, 
Part  II,  p.  621,  and  United  States  Census,  1905,  Manufactures, 
Part  II,  p.  770. 

69 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

that  although  women  still  outnumbered  men  they 
were  losing  ground.  A  woman  who  had  fed  a 
point  folding  machine,  and  lost  her  position  be- 
cause of  the  introduction  of  the"  automatic  "  tended 
by  a  man,  remarked,  "A  man  is  paid  according  to 
what  he  knows,  and  not  according  to  what  he 
does."  It  is  certainly  true  that  the  tender  of  a 
large  complex  machine,  fitted  with  all  the  devices 
for  feeding  itself,  must  be  one  who  knows  rather 
than  one  who  does.  Women  without  mechanical 
training  have  small  chance  of  securing  the  work 
of  managing  the  new  machines. 

In  view  of  the  changes  that  have  been  de- 
scribed, the  future  of  women's  work  in  binderies 
is  problematical.  It  is  the  opinion  of  some  bind- 
ers that  women  could  be  trained  to  carry  on 
artistic  hand  binding  in  all  its  departments,  but 
it  seems  unlikely  that  the  best  opportunities  in 
art  binding  would  be  open  at  first  to  any  but 
women  of  the  professional  type.  In  machine 
binderies,  it  would  seem  to  be  largely  the  lack  of 
opportunity  to  acquire  mechanical  skill  which 
prevents  women  from  adjusting  themselves  to  new 
inventions  and  retaining  their  former  place  in 
the  trade.  Nevertheless,  the  changes  are  much 
less  rapid  or  revolutionary  than  some  of  the  re- 
marks of  workers  and  employers  would  indicate, 
and  the  hardships  of  the  workers  could  be  avoided 
if  more  attention  were  paid  to  their  problems. 
Machines  have  appropriated  more  processes  in  mag- 
azine binderies  than  in  any  other  branch  of  the 

70 


WOMEN  S   WORK    IN    THE    BINDERIES 

trade,  but  even  in  establishments  where  the  new- 
est inventions  are  found  women  workers  are  still 
needed,  although  often  they  are  not  the  same 
women  who  formerly  worked  there.  The  pro- 
cesses have  changed,  and  the  personnel  of  the 
force  usually  changes  also  with  the  reorganization 
of  the  work.  But  in  spite  of  the  tendencies  re- 
vealed by  such  occurrences  a  view  of  the  trade  as 
a  whole  indicates  that  the  number  of  women  em- 
ployed in  the  industry  will  probably  continue  to 
increase. 


CHAPTER  IV 
WAGES  AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

OF  all  the  complex  factors  to  be  considered 
in  describing  a  trade,  the  most  vital  is  the 
relation  of  the  wage  scale  to  the  main- 
tenance of  wholesome  living  conditions  among 
the  workers.  To  discuss  women's  wages  merely 
as  a  phase  of  trade  problems,  unrelated  to  the  life 
of  the  worker  outside  the  workroom,  is  to  miss  the 
real  significance  of  the  conditions  of  their  work. 
For  this  reason,  two  important  subjects,  wages 
and  home  conditions,  are  brought  together  for 
discussion  in  this  chapter. 

Many  difficulties  are  encountered  in  investigat- 
ing wages.  The  private  investigator,  without  ac- 
cess to  payrolls,  is  handicapped  in  securing  facts 
from  employers.  Variations  in  methods  in  differ- 
ent establishments,  and  changes  from  day  to  day 
in  the  same  workroom,  are  obstacles  in  the  way  of 
getting  clear-cut,  definite  information.  "We  have 
no  fixed  wage  scale;  it  all  depends  on  the  girl/' 
is  a  remark  heard  frequently  when  employers  are 
asked  what  wages  are  actually  received  by  women 
employes.  "Some  girls  can  make  50  cents  and 
others  $2.50  a  day.  There  is  no  uniformity." 

72 


WAGES  AND   HOME   CONDITIONS 

The  method  of  paying  by  the  piece  rather  than 
by  a  fixed  weekly  rate  also  obscures  the  real  facts. 
The  crowding  of  work  at  one  season,  and  employ- 
ment only  for  part  time,  or  no  work  at  all,  at 
another  season,  produces  great  confusion  in  esti- 
mating the  bindery  girl's  income. 

For  these  reasons  general  statements  about  the 
range  of  pay  in  a  given  establishment  have  not 
proved  so  dependable  a  source  of  information  as 
the  case  study  of  the  workers  interviewed.  The 
records  of  these  workers  show  the  length  of  their 
employment  in  bookbinding,  and  the  weekly  wage 
received  in  each  place  of  employment,  including 
the  first  wage,  the  last,  and  the  maximum.  If 
they  were  piece  workers  the  range  of  their  earnings 
is  recorded. 

The  three  methods  of  payment  found  in  bind- 
eries are  called,  in  the  trade  vocabulary,  piece  work, 
time  work,  and  week  work.  Piece  workers  are 
given  jobs  on  which  a  certain  price  per  100  sheets 
has  been  set;  the  number  produced  determines 
the  earnings.  Time  workers  are  paid  by  the  hour, 
at  a  different  rate  for  different  processes.  A  girl 
may  be  a  piece  worker  during  part  of  the  day  and 
then  become  a  time  worker.  Week  workers  re- 
ceive a  regular  wage  by  the  week,  which  does  not 
vary  with  variations  in  the  amount  produced. 
Obviously,  however,  no  week  worker  could  retain 
her  place  without  producing  a  satisfactory  mini- 
mum output. 

The  processes  of  work  and  the  size  of  the  estab- 
73 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

lishment  seem  to  be  the  most  important  factors  in 
determining  the  method  of  payment.  When  a 
worker  turns  frequently  from  one  process  to  an- 
other, or  when  the  same  process  is  applied  to  many 
different  kinds  of  products,  then  the  piece  work 
method  is  not  convenient.  "We  have  to  pay 
numberers  by  the  week,"  said  one  employer; 
"piece  work  would  keep  a  bookkeeper  busy  cal- 
culating the  rate  and  pay  for  each  job."  "My 
girls  are  all  week  workers,"  said  the  owner  of 
a  small  establishment.  "They  can't  make  any- 
thing on  piece  work  unless  there's  plenty  of  one 
kind."  Job  binderies,  therefore,  handling  books 
of  all  sorts  and  varieties,  singly  or  in  small  num- 
bers, usually  adopt  the  time  or  week  methods  of 
payment;  so  also  do  employers  of  small  forces  of 
general  workers.  But  for  binders  of  large  editions 
of  books  handled  by  the  thousands,  all  identical, 
the  piece  work  system  affords  an  accurate  test  of 
each  worker's  earning  power.  The  firm  thus  avoids 
payment  for  work  not  done.  As  time  and  week 
workers'  wages  are  usually  lower  than  the  maxi- 
mum possible  earning  of  piece  workers,  many 
bindery  women  prefer  the  piece-work  system. 

The  workers  interviewed  were  asked  what  wage 
they  had  last  received  in  the  bookbinding  trade, 
and  their  answers,  classified  in  Table  6  according 
to  length  of  experience,  show  the  bindery  girl's 
chances  for  increase  in  earnings.  Of  the  workers 
considered,  1 33  were  paid  by  the  week  or  time,  and 
60  were  piece  workers. 

74 


WAGES    AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

TABLE  6.— WEEKLY  WAGES  OF  WOMEN   EMPLOYED  IN 

BOOKBINDING  BY  YEARS  OF  EMPLOYMENT 

IN  THE  TRADE* 


WOMEN  WHO  HAVE  BEEN 
EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING 

TOTAL 

V. 

2 

<•** 

S    £ 

5 

Weekly  Wages 

^ 

^| 

ill 

|£ 

5 

| 

5 

1 

I* 

Q     8 

§** 

il 

1 

1 

£ 

M 

J 

v 

so 

^^ 

^ 

Under  $5.00 

26 

10 

I 

, 

38 

19.7 

$5.00  and  under  $6.00 

5 

12 

4 

i 

.  . 

22 

11.4 

$6.00  and  under  $7.00 

3 

II 

6 

i 

i 

22 

11.4 

$7.00  and  under  $8.00 

10 

5 

7 

i 

23 

ii  9 

$8.00  and  under  $9.00 

.  . 

8 

8 

10 

3 

29 

15.0 

$9.00  and  under  $10.00 

2 

5 

9 

2 

18 

9-3 

$10.00  and  under  $12.00 

2 

7 

18 

6 

33 

17.1 

$12.00  and  under  $15.00 

i 

7 

8 

4-2 

Total        .       .        . 

34 

55 

36 

48 

20 

'93 

100.0 

Average  weekly  wages 

$4.30 

$6.  1  8 

17-71 

$8.8  1 

$10.30 

$7-22 

a  Of  the  201  women  interviewed,  8  did  not  supply  information. 

More  than  half  of  these  workers  received  less 
than  $8.00  a  week.  Only  21  per  cent,  or  about 
one  in  five,  received  $10  or  more.  Measured  by 
average  wages,  the  group  who  have  been  employed 
three  or  four  years  earn  only  about  $3.00  more 
than  those  who  have  been  at  work  less  than  a 
year.  The  average  wage  of  the  group  employed 
between  five  and  ten  years  is  $8.8 1,  only  about  a 
dollar  more  than  for  those  who  have  had  three  to 
five  years'  experience.  For  those  who  have  worked 

75 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

in  binderies  ten  years  or  more,  the  average  is 
$ 1 0.30,  with  $15  as  an  upper  limit. 

As  to  the  wage  received  within  the  first  year,  ad- 
ditional evidence  is  secured  by  tabulating  all  these 
workers'  reports  of  the  first  wages  received  when 
they  entered  the  bookbinding  trade,  as  shown  in 
Table  7. 

TABLE  7.— WEEKLY  EARNINGS  OF  WOMEN  EMPLOYED 

IN   BOOKBINDING  DURING  FIRST  WEEK  OF 

EMPLOYMENT  IN  BOOKBINDING  * 


Earnings  During  tloe  First  Week 

WOMEN  WHOSE  EARNINGS 
WERE  AS  SPECIFIED 

Number 

Per  Cent 

Nothing     . 
Under  $3.00 
$3.00  and  under  $4.00 
$4.00  and  under  $5.00 
$5.00  and  under  $6.00 
$6.00  and  under  $7.00 
$7.00  or  over    . 

4 
23 
58 
70 
20 
17 

2.1 

11.9 
30.0 
36.3 
10.4 

8.8 

•5 

Total          

'93 

1  00.0 

a  Of  the  201  women  interviewed,  8  did  not  supply  information. 
The  week  workers  numbered  180  and  the  piece  workers  13  of  those 
reporting  on  this  point. 

Nearly  half,  44  per  cent,  of  these  learners  in 
binderies  received  less  than  $4.00.  Four-fifths  re- 
ceived less  than  $5.00  a  week.  Of  the  group  of 
four  who  received  no  wages,  one  learned  eight 
years  ago,  and  the  others  twelve,  fifteen,  or  forty 
years  ago,  at  a  time  when  the  custom  of  not  pay- 
ing learners  was  more  general  than  at  present. 

76 


WAGES   AND  HOME   CONDITIONS 

We  know  of  no  bindery  where  this  custom  now 
prevails. 

The  group  of  18,  or  9  per  cent,  who  earned 
$6.00  or  over  the  first  week,  ought  to  be  more  fully 
described.  Only  one  was  as  young  as  fourteen 
when  she  began  work  in  the  bookbinding  trade. 
Six  were  fifteen  years  old,  six  were  seventeen,  two 
were  nineteen,  and  three  were  over  twenty-one. 
These  older  girls  had  had  experience  in  other  occupa- 
tions. On  entering  the  bookbinding  trade  seven 
worked  in  magazine  binderies,  doing  unskilled  work, 
in  which  strength  is  the  chief  requirement;  three 
were  employed  for  temporary  work,  folding  a 
holiday  pamphlet;  two  were  exceptions  who  se- 
cured work  in  hand  binderies  through  influential 
friends;  two  did  heavy  work  in  edition  binderies; 
one  was  a  gold  layer's  apprentice;  and  three  folded 
pamphlets.  A  comparatively  high  wage  paid  to 
inexperienced  girls  usually  means  that  the  process 
demands  no  skill,  and  no  real  opportunity  will  be 
given  to  learn  or  to  advance. 

Of  2 10  employers  interviewed  regarding  learners, 
65  refused  to  engage  them,  and  three  made  no 
statement  on  this  point.  Table  8  shows  the  wages 
paid  to  learners,  as  stated  by  133  of  the  142  firms 
willing  to  employ  them,  classified  according  to  the 
minimum  age  requirement  in  the  bindery. 

In  34  of  the  60  binderies  in  which  fourteen- 
year-old  girls  were  employed  as  learners,  the  be- 
ginning wage  was  less  than  $4.00.  Of  the  52  in 
which  learners  must  be  at  least  sixteen,  only  14 

77 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

pay  a  minimum  wage  of  less  than  $4.00,  and  38 
pay  $4.00  or  more.  This  indicates  the  superior 
earning  capacity  of  the  sixteen-year-old  girl  in 
this  trade,  even  though  she  be  a  learner,  and  gives 
statistical  support  to  the  remark  of  an  experienced 
worker:  "It's  the  young  girls  who  spoil  a  trade. 
They  come  in  and  work  for  very  low  wages,  and 
sometimes  the  boss  takes  them  in  preference  to 
the  older  girls,  who  can't  work  for  so  little."  An 
analysis  of  wages  paid  to  learners  in  different 
branches  of  the  trade  shows  that  edition  and 
pamphlet  binderies  pay  higher  wages  to  learners 
than  they  receive  in  blankbook  binderies. 

TABLE  8.— BINDERIES  EMPLOYING  WOMEN  AS  LEARN- 
ERS   BY   WEEKLY   WAGES  OF    LEARNERS,    AND 
THE    MINIMUM    AGE    AT    WHICH    THEY 
ARE  EMPLOYEDa 


Minimum  Age  at  which 
Learners  are  Employed 

BINDERIES  IN  WHICH  THE  WEEKLY 
WAGES  of  LEARNERS  ARE 

All 
Bind- 
eries 

$2.00 
and 
Less 
than 
$3.00 

$3.00 
and 
Less 
than 
$4-00 

$4.00 
and 
Less 
than 
$5.00 

$5.00 
and 
Less 
than 
$7.00 

Minimum  age  14  years  . 
Minimum  age  16  years  . 
Minimum  age  not  stated 

3 

i 

31 
13 

24 

22 
10 

2 

16 
3 

60 
52 

21 

Total        .       .       . 

4 

52 

56 

21 

133 

vxi     1 1^**    LJIIIUI,!  \\*&    \^ni  piw_y  i  ng     iv*o,i  iiti  &f    y    uiu    uvt    oujjjJijr     lUIVIlUA 

tion  as  to  wages  of  learners. 

The  wages  received  by  the  group  of  workers 
interviewed  (see  Table  6)  may  be  compared  with 

78 


WAGES    AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

the  census  statistics  of  1905  based  on  payroll  tran- 
scriptions of  the  earnings  of  2,010  bindery  women 
in  New  York  state.  The  census  figures  also  afford 
a  basis  for  comparison  of  the  wages  of  men  and  wo- 
men in  this  industry.  Furthermore,  they  show  the 
comparative  wages  received  by  bindery  women 
and  by  the  large  group  of  women  in  all  manufac- 
turing industries. 

TABLE  9.— COMPARATIVE  WEEKLY  EARNINGS  OF  MEN 
AND  WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN   BOOKBINDING  AND 
OF  WOMEN  IN  ALL  MANUFACTURING  IN- 
DUSTRIES.  NEW  YORK  STATE,  1905* 


Weekly  Earnings  of  Em- 

BOOKBINDING TRADE 

WOMEN  IN 
ALL  MANU- 

ployes 

Men 

Women 

FACTURING 
INDUSTRIES 

Number  considered 

2,143 

2,010 

108,083 

Per  cent  earning  — 

Less  than  $3.00  . 

0.9 

3-5 

6.5 

$3.00  and  under  $4.00 

3-i 

!().. 

10.  1 

$4.00  and  under  $5.00 

5-5 

I7.8 

150 

$5.00  and  under  $6.00 

6.0 

I6.3 

15-5 

$6.00  and  under  $7.00 

7-4 

144 

14.7 

$7.00  and  under  $8.00 

5-7 

10  5 

11.4 

$8.00  and  under  $9.00 

7-3 

8.0 

8.5 

$9.00  and  under  $10.00 

7-6 

5.8 

6-4 

$10.00  and  under  $12.00 

12.9 

4.8 

6-4 

$12.00  and  under  $15.00 

15.0 

2.1 

3-7 

$15.00  or  over 

28.6 

0.7 

1.8 

Total     

1  00.0 

1  00.0 

1  00.0 

Average  weekly  earnings   . 

$12.09 

$6.13 

$6.54 

a  United  States  Census,   Bulletin  93,  Earnings  of  Wage-earners, 
Manufactures,  p.  150.  1905. 

According  to  this  table,  nearly  70  per  cent  of 
women  bookbinders  received  less  than  $7.00  in  a 

79 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

week  when  the  largest  number  were  employed,  the 
time  for  which  census  enumerators  were  instructed 
to  copy  the  payrolls.  Only  7.6  per  cent,  or  about 
one  in  14,  received  $10  or  more.  Compared  with 
this  information,  the  facts  about  the  women  whom 
we  interviewed  show  that  they  have  a  higher  earn- 
ing capacity  than  the  larger  group  recorded  in  the 
census.  This  may  be  explained  as  due  in  part  to 
the  fact  that  the  census  figures  include  bookbinders 
outside  New  York  City  in  other  parts  of  the  state 
where  both  wages  and  cost  of  living  are  lower. 
Furthermore,  the  census  shows  actual  earnings  in 
the  week  under  consideration,  not  wage  rates,  and 
some  workers  may  have  been  counted  who  had  not 
worked  six  days.  Nevertheless,  as  it  was  a  week 
when  the  largest  force  was  at  work,  the  probability 
is  that  the  great  majority  were  employed  full  time, 
and  it  is  fair  to  compare  their  earnings  with  the 
wages  received  by  our  group  in  a  normal  week. 
The  difference  may  be  due  in  part  also  to  the  fact 
that  the  group  of  girls  who  gave  us  most  complete 
information  may  have  been  above  the  average  in 
intelligence,  length  of  experience,  and  earning  ca- 
pacity. It  is  obvious,  at  least,  that  our  data  con- 
cern women  who  are  certainly  not  below  the  level 
of  their  fellow- workers,  and  their  experiences  can- 
not be  challenged  as  giving  an  unfair  view  of 
women's  work  in  the  trade. 

According  to  the  census  figures,  the  earnings 
of  women  in  binderies  are  lower  than  those  of 
women  in  all  manufacturing  industries,  grouped 

80 


WAGES   AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

together,  in  New  York  state.  The  average  for  all 
industries  is  $6.54  compared  with  an  average  of 
$6. 1 3  for  women  bookbinders,  and  the  chances  of 
earning  $10  or  more  are  fewer  for  bindery  women 
than  for  women  in  all  trades  taken  together. 


1,200 


1,211 


800 


400 


1,200 


800 


400 


Men    Women 

Earning  under 

$6.00 


Men  Women 
Earning  $6.00 
and  under  $10 


CHART  III. — MEN  AND  WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING  IN  NEW 
YORK  STATE,  BY  WEEKLY  EARNINGS 

The  difference  between  the  earnings  of  men  and 

women  in  binderies  is  pictured  graphically  in  the 

accompanying  chart.    Of  the  women,  54  per  cent 

earn  less  than  $6.00  a  week,  while  only  16  per  cent 

6  81 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

of  the  men  receive  such  low  pay.  On  the  other 
hand,  only  8  of  every  100  women  reach  a  wage  of 
$ioormore,  as  compared  with  5 7  of  every  loomen. 
The  women  are  not  doing  the  same  work,  but  it  is 
significant  that  the  standard  of  remuneration  in 
their  departments  is  about  half  the  standard  for 
men's  work. 

These  group  figures  do  not  take  account  of  differ- 
ences in  different  establishments,  of  changes  in 
rates,  of  deductions  by  fines,  or  of  losses  through 
irregular  employment.  In  making  comparisons  of 
rates  of  pay  in  different  establishments,  possible 
differences  in  grade  of  work  must  be  carefully  noted. 
It  is  fair,  however,  to  compare  the  rate  per  hour  for 
such  comparatively  uniform  work  as  filling  the 
boxes  of  the  gathering  machine.  Some  binderies 
pay  1 5  cents  an  hour  for  this  work,  some  1 7^  cents, 
and  some  18  cents.  A  difference  of  3  cents  an  hour 
in  a  forty-eight-hour  week  amounts  to  $1.44,  not  a 
small  sum  in  the  eyes  of  a  low-paid  worker.  Infor- 
mation given  both  by  workers  and  employers  indi- 
cates also  a  difference  of  50  per  cent  in  the  rate  for 
hand  folding  in  different  binderies,  one  employer 
paying  i  cent  per  100  sheets,  folded  once,  and 
another  paying  a  cent  and  a  half.  One  worker  who 
was  employed  in  several  binderies  in  quick  succes- 
sion said  that  for  a  large  "two-fold"  she  received  2 
cents  per  100  in  one  bindery,  and  3  cents  per  100 
in  another,  the  size  and  grade  of  paper  being  the 
same.  For  folding  a  circular,  "four-fold  and  cut," 
she  received  5^  cents  per  100  in  one  bindery,  and 

82 


FOLDING  BY  HAND 
(Inner  room.     All  light  artificial) 


FOLDING  AND  GATHERING 
(Hand  folders  on  platform;  machine  folders  and  hand  gatherers  below) 


WAGES    AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

cents  in  another.  For  gathering  and  collating 
magazines  she  said  that  the  rate  in  one  bindery 
was  i  cent  per  100  signatures,  and  in  another 
three-quarters  of  a  cent. 

A  girl  employed  five  years  in  the  trade  explained 
one  cause  of  this  difference.  "Employers  often 
try  to  get  the  girls  to  do  a  piece  of  work  at  less 
than  the  regular  rate,"  she  said,  "and  sometimes 
the  girls  don't  know  what  the  regular  rate  is. 
It's  a  mean  thing  to  do,  because  when  an  employer 
figures  on  an  order  he  doesn't  figure  on  a  reduced 
rate  of  pay.  He  figures  on  the  regular  rate  and 
then  any  reduction  he's  able  to  get  from  the  girls 
adds  to  his  profit.  Once  our  boss  gave  the  girls 
a  job  at  1 8  cents  a  thousand  that  the  bindery  I'd 
just  left  had  been  paying  22  cents  for.  I  told  the 
girls  about  it  and  they  said  they  couldn't  do  the 
work  for  less  than  22  cents.  The  boss  gave  right 
in.  He  knew  he  was  putting  too  low  a  price  on 
the  work."  "The  mean  thing  about  that  shop/' 
said  one  girl,  "is  that  when  they  see  you're  making 
more  than  a  certain  amount,  they  cut  the  rate." 
"  I  worked  very  hard,"  said  another,  employed  in 
a  very  different  type  of  bindery,  "but  I  tried  to 
keep  to  a  schedule,  because  if  one  girl  turns  out 
too  much  in  a  day,  they're  apt  to  cut  the  rates." 

Wages  may  also  be  diminished  through  fines 
and  charges,  although  in  the  bindery  trade  these 
are  not  usually  very  serious.  Various  punitive 
methods  are  adopted  to  compel  the  workers  to  be 
prompt  in  the  morning.  Time-clocks  in  many 

83 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

binderies  act  as  automatic  witnesses,  and  the  pun- 
ishment may  be  a  scolding  or  a  fine.  In  some  bin- 
deries, if  a  girl  is  one  minute  late  she  is  "docked" 
for  fifteen  minutes,  or  if  she  is  more  than  fifteen 
minutes  late  she  is  docked  for  a  half  hour.  Others 
have  been  fined  for  an  hour's  absence  if  late  five 
minutes,  or  they  have  been  locked  out  until  noon. 
In  some  cases  the  charges  exacted  indicate  a  petty 
meanness  which  is  exasperating  to  the  workers. 
On  what  grounds,  for  example,  can  an  employer 
be  justified  in  charging  his  employes  2  cents  a 
month  for  having  the  toilets  cleaned?  In  some 
establishments  the  girls  pay  5  cents  every  two 
weeks  for  ice  water  in  summer.  "  It's  very  little," 
said  one  girl,  "but  it's  mean  of  the  firm  not  to 
supply  it.  We  have  to  bring  our  own  towels  and 
soap,  too." 

Very  few  firms  seem  to  charge  for  "spoiled 
work."  The  penalty  is  more  likely  to  be  loss  of 
position.  One  learner,  however,  earning  $4.50, 
had  been  fined  25  cents  for  spoiling  some  sheets; 
on  another  occasion  she  was  fined  1 5  cents.  An- 
other case  in  the  same  bindery  was  that  of  a 
little  girl  who  had  to  pay  75  cents  for  a  book 
she  had  spoiled. 

Most  serious  of  all  losses  is  the  cut  in  yearly  in- 
come due  to  lack  of  work  in  dull  season,  or  loss  of 
time  for  other  reasons.  An  accurate  determina- 
tion of  yearly  earnings  is  impossible  unless  the 
workers  keep  accounts,  but  the  following  estimate, 
made  after  very  careful  consideration  of  all  the  facts 

84 


WAGES    AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

on  our  record  cards,  throws  light  on  the  workers' 
losses.  The  whole  subject  of  irregular  employment 
will  be  more  fully  discussed  in  the  next  chapter. 

TABLE  10.— APPROXIMATE  YEARLY  INCOME  OF  WOMEN 
EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING,  BY  AGESa 


Yearly  Income 

Women 
Under  18 
Years 

Women 
18  Years 
and 
Under  21 

Women 
21  Years 
or  Over 

All 
Women 

Under  $100 
$100  and  under  $200 
$200  and  under  $300 
$300  and  under  $400 
$400  and  under  $500 
$500  and  under  $600 
$600  and  under  $800 

2 

8 
7 
5 

i 
4 

!t 

4 
4 

4 

i 
6 
13 

2 

7 
13 

21 
27 

1 

I 

Total        .       .       . 

22 

43 

27 

92 

Median  income 

$207 

$325 

$400 

$308 

a  Data  are  presented  only  for  women  who  have  been  wage-earners 
a  year  or  more.  In  making  up  the  table,  earnings  from  all  occupa- 
tions engaged  in  during  the  year  have  been  considered,  since  many 
bookbinders  are  forced  to  seek  work  outside  their  trade  when 
bindery  work  is  slack. 

These  figures  are  estimates  rather  than  exact 
records.  The  table  shows,  however,  the  median 
yearly  income,  half  the  workers  earning  less  and 
half  earning  more.  A  closer  analysis  of  the  figures 
on  which  the  table  is  based  shows  that  for  girls 
under  eighteen  the  median  is  $207,  for  girls  of 
eighteen  to  twenty-one  years,  $325,  for  those 
twenty-one  years  of  age  or  over,  $400,  and,  for 
the  whole  group  considered,  $308.  If  work  were 
steady  the  average  weekly  wage  of  $7.22,  which 

85 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

is  recorded  for  the  girls  interviewed,  would  amount 
to  a  yearly  income  of  about  $375.  But  the  esti- 
mate of  yearly  earnings  shows  that  even  though 
bindery  girls  find  other  work  in  dull  season  the 
median  yearly  income  from  all  their  occupations 
is  about  $308,  indicating  a  loss  of  more  than  $50 
in  twelve  months.  This  is  not  a  small  loss  when 
the  fact  is  realized  that  very  few  bindery  girls  earn 
$500  or  more  in  a  year. 

Surprising,  indeed,  is  the  complacency  with 
which  many  persons  regard  the  low  wages  of  work- 
ing women.  They  believe  that  the  problem  con- 
cerns only  the  welfare  of  the  individual  girl,  and 
that  if  she  can  live  at  home,  merely  supplementing 
the  family  income,  her  scanty  earnings  need  cause 
no  concern.  Such  easy-going  thinking  ignores 
the  fact  that  the  low  standard  of  remuneration 
of  the  large  proportion  of  the  community's  work- 
ers which  women  now  represent  must  inevitably 
lower  the  industrial  standards  of  the  whole  com- 
munity. Nor  does  it  occur  to  them  that  the  low 
wages  of  women  are  a  prime  cause  of  poverty,  pre- 
venting wholesome  and  decent  living  in  thousands 
of  families  which  depend  wholly  or  in  part  upon 
women's  earnings. 

The  girl  who  lives  at  home  is  typical  of  an  over- 
whelming majority  of  bindery  girls.  Even  a 
cursory  description  of  these  family  groups  shows 
how  important  is  the  gainful  employment  of 
women  in  its  relation  to  the  maintenance  of  the 
household. 

86 


WAGES   AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

TABLE  11.— FAMILY  STATUS  OF  WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN 
BOOKBINDING* 


WOMEN  WHOSE  STA- 

Status 

TUS  is  AS  SPECIFIED 

Number 

Per  Cent 

Living  at  home  — 
As  head  of  family 

i 

•5 

With  father  as  head  of  family    . 
With  mother  as  head  of  family15 

107 
59 

55-4 
30.6 

With  husband  as  head  of  family 

3 

1.6 

Other  relative  as  head  of  family 

23 

11.9 

Total  living  at  home 

»93 

1  00.0 

Boarding    

6 

Grand  total       

199 

a  Of  20 1  women  interviewed,  2  did  not  supply  information, 
b  Father  dead  or  away  from  home. 

Thus  1 93  of  the  199  bindery  girls  here  considered 
lived  at  home,  but  in  only  55  per  cent  of  the  fam- 
ilies was  the  father  the  head,  while  in  30  per  cent 
the  father  was  dead  or  away  from  home  and 
the  direction  of  the  household  devolved  upon  the 
mother.  In  12  per  cent  the  bindery  girl  lived 
with  some  other  relative  and  in  three  cases  she  was 
a  wife,  not  only  managing  her  own  home,  but  con- 
tributing to  it  her  weekly  wages.  Only  six  were 
boarding  alone  away  from  any  relatives.*  Even 
when  the  father  is  nominally  the  head  of  the  house- 
hold,! ne  is  not  always  contributing  to  the  family 

*  The  census  shows  a  slightly  larger  percentage  of  boarders,  8  per 
cent.  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.  Special  Reports,  Statis- 
tics of  Women  at  Work,  pp.  266,  270. 

t  In  our  interviews  with  bindery  women,  we  emphasized  especially 
the  subject  of  trade  conditions.  Information  about  living  conditions 
was  not  secured  in  every  case,  but  the  number  of  families  investigated 
on  this  point  constituted  a  large  majority  of  the  households  of  the 
bindery  girls  interviewed.  They  numbered  120  households  in  which 
were  found  150  women  bookbinders.  The  data  in  the  following 
pages  concern  primarily  these  120  households. 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

support.  In  48  families  the  father  was  dead,  in 
seven  he  was  not  living  at  home,  because  of  illness 
or  because  he  had  deserted  the  household,  while 
in  five  he  was  at  home  and  was  regarded  as  the 
head  of  the  family,  although  illness  or  age  pre- 
vented his  working.  In  only  half  the  households 
of  the  bindery  women  interviewed  was  the  father 
a  contributor. 

The  occupations  of  the  fathers  who  were  at  work 
represented  a  great  variety  of  employment.  Four 
had  their  own  business, — one  of  these  was  a  barber, 
one  a  shoemaker,  and  two  were  peddlers.  The  larg- 
est group,  53,  were  not  "independent"  workers  but 
wage-earners,  including  printers,  machinists,  build- 
ers, tailors,  bookbinders,  workers  in  a  spring  fac- 
tory, a  painter,  brass  worker,  electrician,  last 
maker,  glass  setter,  bronze  worker,  copper  worker, 
hardware  worker,  ship  builder,  pipe  layer,  piano 
worker,  silk  weaver,  presser,  candy  maker,  and 
a  packer  of  meats.  In  addition  to  these  work- 
ers in  factories  and  mechanical  pursuits,  this 
wage-earning  group  also  included  drivers  and 
coachmen,  watchmen,  lumber  yard  workers,  jani- 
tors, longshoremen,  day  laborers,  a  waiter,  motor- 
man,  switchman,  public  bath  attendant,  stable- 
man, butcher,  baker,  and  a  bookkeeper.  The 
variety  of  occupations  represented  is  the  most 
noteworthy  feature  of  the  list.  It  includes  skilled 
and  unskilled,  responsible  and  unimportant,  per- 
manent and  casual.  The  increasing  importance  of 
the  work  of  women  in  wage-earners'  families  is 


WAGES   AND  HOME   CONDITIONS 

not  confined  to  any  one  group  of  occupations  of 
the  traditional  heads  of  households. 

Information  about  wages  of  fathers  was  secured 
in  comparatively  few  cases,  but  such  facts  as  were 
learned  are  interesting  as  illustrations.  The  best 
paid  worked  in  connection  with  the  public  baths  at 
$21  a  week.  A  machinist  earned  $16.  A  weekly 
wage  of  $15  was  reported  by  two  drivers,  a 
switchman  on  a  street  railway,  a  hardware  worker, 
and  an  electrician.  Two  other  drivers  and  a  bind- 
ery worker  were  in  the  $12  group.  A  longshore- 
man received  $i  i  and  a  worker  in  a  bronze  factory 
$10.  If  $900  be  the  minimum  living  income  for  a 
"normal"  family  of  husband,  wife,  and  three  or 
four  young  children  in  New  York,*  then  only 
one  of  these  men  was  earning  a  living  sufficient 
to  support  such  a  household.  But  in  his  case  the 
family  was  larger  than  this  normal  standard  and 
his  daughter's  wages  in  a  bindery  were  needed. 
These  are  but  illustrations,  but  they  corroborate 
the  statements  made  in  many  other  families  as  to 
the  necessity  for  the  contributions  of  the  women 
to  the  support  of  the  households. 

Nearly  all  the  120  households  depended  upon 
the  earnings  of  more  than  one  worker.  In  only 
one  family  was  the  woman  bookbinder  the  only 
wage-earner.  In  84  households  the  family  in- 
come was  secured  by  the  combined  contributions 


*  Chapin,  Robert  Coit:  The  Standard  of  Living  among  Working- 
men's  Families  in  New  York  City,  p.  246.  Russell  Sage  Foundation 
Publication.  New  York,  Charities  Publication  Committee,  1909. 

89 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

of  at  least  three  workers,  and  of  these,  29  families 
had  four  wage-earners,  10  had  five,  and  one  had 
as  many  as  six.  The  record  cards  reveal  the  fact 
that  33  households  had  no  men  wage-earners, 
but  depended  entirely  on  women.  The  men  con- 
tributors numbered  three  in  three  households,  and 
two  in  33,  while  one  man  was  at  work  in  each 
of  51  families.  The  women  wage-earners  num- 
bered one  in  each  of  32  families,  two  in  55,  three 
in  25,  and  in  eight  households  groups  of  as  many 
as  four  women  workers  were  contributing. 

In  one  of  the  families  two  bindery  girls  support 
themselves  and  their  mother,  who  is  an  invalid. 
Formerly  they  worked  in  the  same  establishment, 
and  both  were  frequently  laid  off  at  the  same  time. 
It  was  too  serious  to  risk  having  all  the  family  in- 
come cut  off  in  that  way,  and  they  changed  their 
positions,  believing  that  if  they  were  working  in 
different  binderies  they  would  not  both  be  unem- 
ployed in  the  same  weeks  of  the  year.  One  is  a 
general  worker  earning  $8.00  a  week.  The  other 
is  an  assistant  forewoman  receiving  a  wage  of 
l9.oo.  "Very  few  week  workers  get  more  than 
$9.00  in  bindery  work/'  the  latter  said.  As  a 
gatherer,  paid  by  the  piece,  she  has  earned  as  much 
as  $13,  but  both  she  and  her  sister  say  that  they 
prefer  smaller  pay  and  steadier  work.  Piece  work- 
ers, they  think,  are  more  liable  to  be  laid  off  in 
slack  season. 

The  same  preference  for  "smaller  pay  and  stead- 
ier work"  was  expressed  by  the  mother  of  a  girl 

90 


WAGES    AND   HOME   CONDITIONS 

who  knocks  up  in  an  edition  bindery,  earning 
$5.00  a  week.  "She  pays  the  rent  and  more/' 
said  the  mother.  "She  supports  the  family. 
The  father  earns  very  little,  only  the  food.  I 
don't  want  her  to  be  a  piece  worker.  You  order 
things,  and  then  there's  no  work  and  you  can't  pay 
for  them.  I'd  rather  she  should  have  small  pay 
steady." 

One  of  the  most  significant  facts  learned  in  these 
visits  to  the  households  of  bindery  women,  was 
the  revelation  that  it  was  not  only  the  young 
daughters  who  had  gone  out  to  work  pending  the 
founding  of  their  own  homes,  but  that  these  groups 
of  women  wage-earners,  who  were  contributing  to 
the  family  support,  included  also  the  mothers.  In 
more  than  a  third  of  the  families  it  was  necessary 
for  the  mother  not  only  to  do  her  duty  as  house- 
hold manager  but  also  to  earn  money  by  working 
at  home  or  in  factories.  Nor  is  this  necessity 
present  only  in  families  in  which  the  father  is  not 
living.  For  example,  in  a  Bohemian  family  of 
six,  father,  mother,  and  four  children,  the  mother 
is  a  cigar  maker,  and  the  oldest  daughter,  aged  six- 
teen, and  her  sister,  aged  fifteen,  are  bookbinders, 
one  earning  $3.50  and  the  other  $4.00  a  week. 
Two  younger  boys  are  in  school.  The  father  is  a 
polisher  in  the  hardware  trade,  earning  $i  5  a  week. 
"The  work  is  pretty  steady,"  said  his  wife,  "but 
you  know  yourself  a  man  can't  support  a  family 
of  six  on  $15  a  week."  She  earns  $14  a  week 
working  in  a  factory  so  near  home  that  she  can 

91 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

get  lunch  for  the  youngest  children.  She  also 
does  most  of  the  family  sewing.  She  hires  a 
woman  to  do  the  washing,  and  the  two  girls 
iron  the  clothes  in  the  evenings.  The  family 
spends  $i  .80  a  week  on  carfare.  The  mother  says 
that  every  month  she  thinks  that  in  a  few  weeks 
she  will  not  have  to  work  in  the  factory  any  longer, 
but  after  the  $16  is  paid  for  the  rent,  and  addi- 
tional sums  for  the  insurance,  and  the  trade  union 
dues,  and  the  lodge  money,  there  are  still  so  many 
things  that  the  family  needs  that  she  feels  bound 
to  continue. 

A  gold  layer,  earning  $10  a  week,  is  a  married 
woman,  whose  husband  has  been  too  ill  to  work  for 
two  years.  They  live  in  one  furnished  room,  hav- 
ing been  forced  to  give  up  their  flat  and  sell  their 
furniture  when  the  husband  could  no  longer  work. 
Occasionally  they  go  out  for  their  meals,  but  more 
often  the  wife  cooks  on  a  gas  stove  in  their  room. 
She  was  interviewed  in  April,  1911.  She  had  been 
laid  off  two  weeks  the  preceding  summer,  and  for 
the  preceding  four  months  the  bindery  had  given 
the  gold  layers  only  five  or  five  and  a  half  days' 
work  in  the  week.  "  I  haven't  made  a  full  week's 
pay  since  January,"  she  said. 

The  pressure  of  the  high  cost  of  living,  or  the 
illness  or  death  of  the  head  of  the  family,  has  in 
many  other  cases  compelled  the  wife  to  earn 
money  to  help  support  the  household.  The 
wage-earning  mothers  in  the  120  families  studied 
numbered  45,  while  in  66  households  the  mothers' 

92 


COVERING  MAGAZINES  BY  MACHINE 


GATHERING  MACHINE 


WAGES    AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

contribution  was  through  housework  at  home  rather 
than  through  paid  employment.  In  eight  fami- 
lies the  mother  was  dead,  and  in  one  she  was  not 
living  at  home.  Of  the  45  who  contributed  to 
the  family  income,  14  did  so  by  keeping  boarders 
or  lodgers,  seven  by  janitor  service  to  pay  the 
rent,  and  two  by  factory  work  at  home,  one  sew- 
ing and  the  other  preparing  hair  goods;  several 
of  them  combined  more  than  one  of  these  means 
of  livelihood.  There  were  31  who  worked  for 
wages  outside  the  home,  one  as  cook  in  a  private 
family,  one  in  the  laundry  of  a  hospital,  18  at 
day's  work,  washing,  or  cleaning,  or  as  house- 
keepers or  office  cleaners,  and  1 1  in  factory  work 
including  bookbinding,  dressmaking,  cigar  making, 
rubber  manufacture,  the  packing  of  groceries,  and 
the  making  of  paper  boxes. 

One  of  these  working  mothers  is  only  seventeen 
years  old.  Her  husband  is  in  prison.  She  and 
her  seven  weeks'  old  baby  live  with  her  mother 
and  young  sister  in  one  room  on  the  top  floor 
of  a  dreary  tenement  in  Cherry  Street.  The 
sister  has  just  gotten  work  as  a  learner  in  book- 
binding at  $4.00  a  week.  The  young  mother's 
earnings  are  $6.00  a  week.  After  her  hard  and 
dusty  day's  work  in  the  bindery  she  returns  home 
to  nurse  her  baby. 

In  one  family,  the  mother,  who  is  a  widow,  and 
three  daughters  are  all  wage-earners.  The  mother 
and  one  daughter  work  in  paper  box  factories, 
and  the  other  two  in  binderies.  The  mother  says 

93 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

that  she  has  always  worked  in  the  paper  box  trade. 
"It  used  to  be  a  good  trade,  but  machinery  has 
spoiled  it.  I  used  to  make  $10  a  week  easily,  but 
now  we're  lucky  if  we  make  $1.25  a  day."  Every 
member  of  the  family  faces  the  uncertainty  of 
slack  season,  but  employment  in  different  factories 
lessens  the  risk  of  simultaneous  reductions  in  in- 
come. When  the  working  day  in  the  factories  is 
over,  they  return  home  to  cook  dinner,  wash  the 
dishes,  clean  the  three  rooms  of  their  flat,  and  do 
their  washing.  "It's  hard  to  work  all  day  for 
$4.50  a  week  and  then  wash  your  clothes  at  night," 
said  a  bindery  girl  in  another  household. 

Often  it  seems  as  though  the  work  open  to  mar- 
ried women  or  widows  was  the  hardest  and  most 
poorly  paid  of  all  the  tasks  done  by  wage-earning 
women.  Because  of  their  household  duties  they 
are  less  free  than  their  daughters  to  choose  their 
occupation.  One  woman,  who  has  two  daughters 
in  the  bookbinding  trade,  fifteen  years  ago  was 
left  a  widow  with  four  children.  During  those  fif- 
teen years  she  has  worked  as  an  ironer  in  the  laun- 
dry of  a  New  York  hospital,  and  has  never  had  a 
day  off  with  pay  since  she  has  been  employed  there. 
All  day  long  she  stands  at  her  work  until  now  she 
wonders  whether  the  section  of  the  floor  upon  which 
she  has  stood  so  long  will  not  wear  through  to  the 
ceiling  below.  The  hours,  however,  are  shorter  than 
in  many  factories,  and  so  she  endures  the  hardships 
of  her  work.  Her  children  are  now  grown,  so  her 
employment  away  from  home  all  day  does  not 

94 


WAGES   AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

endanger  their  welfare  as  it  did  when  they  were 
younger.  Even  now,  however,  it  is  difficult  to 
get  the  housework  done.  The  only  time  for 
it  is  before  seven  in  the  morning  or  after  six  at 
night. 

The  fact  that  the  mothers  must  be  wage-earners 
in  occupations  which  take  them  away  from  home 
is  more  serious  when  there  are  children  in  the  fam- 
ily. That  bookbinders'  households  are  not  groups 
of  adults,  but  that  they  have  little  brothers  and 
sisters  whom  they  are  helping  to  support,  is  shown 
by  facts  about  the  number  of  children  under  four- 
teen. In  more  than  three-fifths  of  the  families  there 
are  children  under  fourteen,  and  in  more  than  a 
fourth  these  young  children  number  three  or  more. 
That  in  many  of  these  households  in  which  the 
children  are  not  yet  past  school  age  not  only 
young  girls  but  their  mothers  must  share  in  earn- 
ing the  necessary  income,  is  an  indication  of  a 
problem  of  increasing  importance  in  the  com- 
munity. 

No  attempt  was  made  in  this  investigation  to 
study  the  standard  of  living  as  it  would  be  re- 
vealed in  the  expenditures  for  food,  clothing,  re- 
creation, education,  and  other  important  items  of 
the  family  budget.  But  data  about  the  amount 
spent  in  rent  and  the  number  of  rooms  compared 
with  the  number  of  persons  in  the  household  are 
tangible  indications  of  the  economic  status  of  the 
families  of  bindery  girls. 

These  data  show  a  rather  wide  range  of  expendi- 
95 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

ture  for  rent,  with  six  families  paying  less  than  $10 
a  month,  and  five  paying  $25  or  more.  The  greater 
number  are  included  in  the  groups  having  a 
monthly  rent  bill  of  $  14  to  $20.  That  bookbind- 
ing is  an  urban  industry,  and  that  not  only  in  New 
York  but  in  other  sections  of  the  country  bindery 
girls'  homes  are,  therefore,  subject  to  the  congested 
conditions  and  high  rents  of  city  life,  is  proved  by 
the  census  figures  already  quoted*  showing  that, 
of  all  women  employed  in  binderies  in  the  United 
States,  82.2  per  cent  live  in  the  larger  cities,  while 
only  17.8  per  cent  are  found  in  small  cities  and 
country  districts.  New  York,  Chicago,  and  Phila- 
delphia claim  43.9  per  cent  or  more  than  two- 
fifths  of  all  the  bindery  women  in  the  United 
States.  Although  Manhattan  has  a  bindery  dis- 
trict where  the  majority  of  establishments  are  lo- 
cated, the  trade  does  not  draw  its  workers  from 
any  one  section.  The  homes  of  the  201  girls  in- 
terviewed were  scattered  about  the  city,  55  below 
Fourteenth  Street,  52  north  of  it  on  the  east  side, 
and  42  on  the  west  side,  three  in  the  Bronx,  and 
49  in  Brooklyn. 

As  our  investigation  of  binderies  was  confined 
to  Manhattan  we  did  not  seek  out  bookbinders 
living  in  Brooklyn,  and  therefore  these  figures 
probably  do  not  show  the  full  proportion  living 
there.  That  many  bookbinders  live  in  Brooklyn 
is  confirmed  by  a  comparison  of  the  occupa- 
tional statistics  (house-to-house  enumeration)  and 

*  See  Table  3,  p.  31,  and  Chart  II,  p.  32. 
96 


WAGES    AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

the  manufacturing  statistics  (factory  enumera- 
tion) of  the  census  of  1900,  showing  that  of  all 
bindery  women  in  Greater  New  York  50  per 
cent  live  in  Brooklyn,  and  only  5  per  cent  work 
there.  The  fact  that  the  bindery  district  sur- 
rounds the  Manhattan  end  of  the  Brooklyn 
Bridge,  and  that  within  a  two  and  a  half  or  five- 
cent  carfare  zone  is  a  wide  choice  of  flats  in 
Brooklyn,  doubtless  accounts  for  the  proportion 
who  live  there  and  work  in  Manhattan. 

That  every  effort  is  made  to  economize  in  rent 
is  indicated  by  the  number  of  persons  to  the  room 
in  these  households,  as  shown  in  Table  12.  The 
groups  are  so  arranged  as  to  indicate  the  num- 
ber of  families,  conforming  to  the  generally  ac- 
cepted standard  of  "less  than  one  and  a  half  per- 
sons per  room."  A  larger  proportion  per  room 
means  overcrowding. 

TABLE  12.— PERSONS  PER  ROOM  IN  FAMILIES  OF  WOMEN 
EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING* 


Families  in 

Which  the  Num- 

Persons per  Room 

ber  of  Persons 

per  Room  is  as 

Specified 

Less  than  one  and  one-half  persons 

63 

One  and  one-half  persons  and  less  than  two  persons 

23 

Two  persons  and  less  than  three  persons 

19 

Three  persons  and  less  than  four  persons 

3 

Four  persons        

i 

Total         

lOQ 

aOf  120  families  investigated,  n  did  not  supply  information. 
7  97 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

The  number  of  rooms  here  counted  includes  not 
only  the  bedrooms  but  the  kitchen  and  any  avail- 
able sitting  room  space.  It  would  seem  that  an 
apartment  with  only  as  many  rooms  as  there 
are  members  of  the  family  would  be  abnormally 
crowded.  But  even  gauged  by  the  much  less  com- 
fortable standard  of  one  and  a  half  persons  per 
room,  46  of  109  households  of  bindery  girls  were 
crowded  to  that  degree  or  worse.  This  is  a  signi- 
ficant sign  of  an  inadequate  standard  of  living  in 
many  of  these  families.  Even  the  combined  ef- 
forts of  so  many  wage-earners  appear  to  be  insuffi- 
cient to  secure  wholesome  living  conditions. 

That  the  contribution  of  bindery  women  toward 
the  maintenance  of  their  homes  is  not  casual  but 
permanent  is  indicated  by  the  number  of  years 
they  have  been  wage-earners. 


TABLE   13.— LENGTH  OF  EMPLOYMENT  OF  201  WOMEN 
EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING 


WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING 

WHO  HAVE  BEEN  EMPLOYED  EACH 

SPECIFIED  LENGTH  OF  TIME 


Length  of  Time  Employed 

In  any  Occupation 

In  Bookbinding 

Number 

Per  Cent 

Number 

Per  Cent 

Less  than  i  year 
i  year  and  less  than  3  years 
3  years  and  less  than  5  years 
5  years  and  less  than  10  years 
10  years  or  more 

19 
39 
50 
59 
34 

10 

19 
25 
29 
17 

35 
57 
37 
49 
23 

17 
29 

18 

25 
ii 

Total    .... 

201 

100 

201 

100 

98 


WAGES    AND  HOME  CONDITIONS 

That  nearly  half,  46  per  cent,  have  been  wage- 
earners  five  years  or  more,  and  that  only  10  per 
cent  have  been  at  work  less  than  a  year,  points  to 
the  fact  that  the  earnings  of  these  women  have 
become  an  indispensable  part  of  the  family  income. 

The  ages  of  the  workers  give  indirect  evidence 
of  their  length  of  service.  Only  18  of  the  200 
who  stated  their  ages  were  under  sixteen,  37 
were  between  sixteen  and  eighteen,  75  between 
eighteen  and  twenty-one,  40  between  twenty-one 
and  twenty-five,  28  between  twenty-five  and 
thirty-five,  and  two  were  in  the  fifties.  The  cen- 
sus figures  regarding  the  4,086  bindery  women 
counted  in  New  York  in  1900  indicate  that  41 1,  or 
10  per  cent,  were  under  sixteen;  2,440,  or  60  per 
cent,  were  between  sixteen  and  twenty-five,  and 
1,235,  or  30  per  cent,  were  twenty-five  or  over.* 
Thus  both  the  census  figures  and  the  data  about  the 
group  interviewed  in  this  investigation  show  that 
the  largest  group  are  under  twenty-five  years  of 
age,  70  per  cent  according  to  the  census,  85  per 
cent  according  to  our  records.  Nevertheless,  the 
proportion  continuing  to  work  beyond  that  age 
is  sufficiently  large  to  warn  us  against  sweeping 
conclusions  about  the  universally  short  term  of 
service  of  wage-earning  women. 

Data  about  these  girls'  mothers  have  shown  that 
a  woman  must  often  continue  to  work  for  wages 
after  her  marriage.  Before  marriage,  the  book- 
binders' earnings  are  of  great  importance  to  their 

*  Twelfth  United  States  Census,  1900.    Occupations,  p.  640. 
99 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

families.  Practically  every  bindery  girl  inter- 
viewed gives  all  her  earnings  to  the  family  each 
week,  receiving  back  again  the  sums  needed 
for  carfare,  lunches,  and  incidental  expenses.  A 
weekly  income  of  $8.00  a  week  hardly  suffices 
to  support  a  single  person  in  New  York  City 
and  is  a  scanty  allowance  when  part  of  it  must 
be  used  to  help  support  children  and  other  de- 
pendents in  the  household.  Yet  more  than  50  per 
cent  of  the  bindery  women  are  receiving  a  smaller 
wage  than  that  amount,  and  in  dull  season  their 
income  is  still  further  reduced. 


IOO 


CHAPTER  V 
IRREGULARITY  OF  EMPLOYMENT 

WOMEN  in  binderies  in  New  York  have 
experienced  all  sorts  and  conditions  of 
irregular  employment.  They  know  the 
meaning  of  general  industrial  depression,  affecting 
alike  all  the  occupations  in  the  community.  They 
have  met  the  changing  demands  for  books  at  dif- 
ferent seasons  of  the  year.  They  have  tried  to  ad- 
just themselves  to  the  intermittent  employment 
which  characterizes  the  binding  of  magazines. 
They  have  been  forced  to  learn  new  operations  or 
to  seek  other  occupations  when  changes  in  ma- 
chinery have  resulted  in  a  reorganization  of  the 
methods  of  work. 

Nor  does  there  appear  to  have  been  any  system- 
atic, successful  effort  either  to  prevent  irregularity 
of  employment  or  to  lessen  its  evils.  In  the  book- 
binding trade,  as  well  as  in  other  occupations,  this 
is  one  of  the  most  baffling  problems  of  industry. 
It  concerns  both  men  and  women.  It  reduces 
earnings  and  lowers  the  standards  of  living.  It 
checks  the  fullest  development  of  efficiency,  de- 
moralizing the  man  or  the  woman  who  must  meet 
the  problem  year  after  year  under  conditions  so 
varied  that  the  worker  cannot  measure  with  cer- 

101 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

tainty  the  evils  "which  the  season  may  bring  forth. 
It  disorganizes  workrooms  and  forces  employers 
to  engage  new  hands  many  times  in  the  course  of 
twelve  months.  Definite  plans  have  been  sug- 
gested, and  in  some  cases  successfully  tried,  in 
the  effort  to  solve  other  industrial  problems.  For 
instance,  it  is  not  impossible  to  show  how  the  work- 
ing day  may  be  shortened,  how  the  standard  wage 
may  be  maintained,  nor  how  workers  may  be 
trained  in  skill.  But  in  answer  to  the  questions 
involved  in  preventing  irregular  employment,  one 
can  cite  only  more  or  less  vague  theories  and  no 
comprehensive  or  successful  experiments. 

To  measure  this  irregularity  is  almost  as  diffi- 
cult as  to  suggest  any  practical  means  of  prevent- 
ing it.  A  worker  may  be  unemployed  or  under- 
employed. She  may  be  walking  the  streets  look- 
ing for  a  job.  Or  she  may  be  a  piece  worker,  sitting 
idle  in  the  factory  and  losing  the  wages  which  she 
might  be  earning  if  work  were  at  hand.  Or  she 
may  find  another  position  in  another  occupation 
at  a  lower  rate  of  pay,  and  in  making  the  change 
she  may  lose  several  working  days,  in  addition  to 
the  reduction  in  her  earning  power  due  to  the  neces- 
sity of  adjusting  herself  to  new  processes.  To  re- 
call how  long  she  was  idle  twelve  months  ago  or 
how  much  time  and  money  she  lost  waiting  for 
work  in  the  factory,  or  how  much  it  cost  her  to 
change  her  occupation  is  a  feat  of  memory  which 
would  be  difficult  for  anyone  to  accomplish. 
Nevertheless,  the  gravity  of  the  problem  and  the 

102 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

difficulty  of  securing  full  information  make  it  the 
more  important  to  collect  all  the  data  on  the  sub- 
ject as  they  appear  in  the  census  and  in  the  records 
of  this  investigation. 

In  New  York  state  in  1905  the  census  enum- 
erators* recorded  9,233  as  the  greatest  number  of 
bookbinders  and  blankbook  makers  (both  men 
and  women)  employed  in  304  establishments  dur- 
ing the  year.  The  least  number  was  6,645,  show- 
ing a  difference  of  2,588  for  the  two  periods.  In 
other  words,  28  per  cent  of  the  maximum  force 
had  disappeared  from  the  payroll  at  the  time  of 
minimum  employment.  The  federal  census  also 
publishes  the  figures  showing  the  numbers  of  men 
and  women  employed  in  each  month  in  908  book- 
binding establishments  throughout  the  United 
States,  but  these  facts  are  not  given  separately  for 
each  state  or  city.  They  show  that  the  month  of 
minimum  employment  for  men  is  July,  for  women, 
April.  The  largest  numbers  of  men  and  women 
are  employed  in  December.! 

The  figures  in  the  census  can  be  regarded  only 
as  a  general  index,  for  in  them  no  account  is 
taken  of  different  seasons  in  different  branches  of 
the  trade.  As  in  many  occupations,  the  Christmas 

*  United  States  Census,  Special  Reports,  Manufactures,  1905. 
Part  I,  United  States  by  Industries,  p.  99. 

t  These  are  the  only  reliable,  official  data  which  we  have  found 
regarding  the  time  lost  by  bindery  women.  In  1890  and  1900  an 
attempt  was  made  to  record1  the  length  of  unemployment  of  every 
wage-earner  enumerated  on  the  household  schedules.  The  statis- 
tics have  very  little  value,  because  the  term  "unemployed"  was  not 
always  clearly  understood  by  the  enumerator,  nor  were  the  facts 
accurately  reported  by  the  wage-earner  or  the  member  of  his  family 
who  gave  information 

103 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

rush  increases  the  force  of  employes  or  lengthens 
the  working  day.  Binders  of  holiday  editions  of 
the  latest  novel,  art  binders  preparing  Christmas 
presents,  lithographers  binding  calendars,  and 

TABLE  14.— MAXIMUM  NUMBER  OF  WOMEN  EMPLOYED 
IN  BOOKBINDING  IN  MANHATTAN,  BY  THE  SEASON 
OF  GREATEST  ACTIVITY  OF  THE  ESTABLISH- 
MENTS IN  WHICH  THEY  ARE  EMPLOYED* 


Season  of  Great- 
est Activity  of 
Binderies 

WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN 
EDITION,  PAMPHLET, 
AND  JOB  BINDERIES 

WOMEN 
EMPLOYED 
IN  BLANK- 
BOOK 
BINDERIES 

TOTAL 

WWb  Em- 
ploy less 
than  60 
Women 

Which  Em- 
ploy 60 
or  more 
Women 

Num- 
ber 

Per 
Cent 

Num- 
ber 

Per 
Cent 

Num- 
ber 

Per 
Cent 

Num- 
ber 

Per 
Cent 

Winterb 
Summer 
Quarterly 
Monthly 
"According  to  or- 
ders" 
"Steady" 

741 
15 

28 
166 

431 
4'7 

4i 

i 

2 

9 

24 
23 

M33 
145 
70 
470 

235 
1,215 

35 
4 

2 

'4 
38 

396 

10 

121 
313 

47 

15 

37 

2,270 
170 
98 
636 

787 
1,945 

38 

3 

2 
II 

13 

33 

Total  .       . 

',798 

100 

3,268 

100 

840 

100 

5,906 

100 

*Of  the  5,949  women  employed  in  the  210  establishments  in- 
vestigated, 43  were  in  establishments  which  did  not  supply  informa- 
tion. 

b  The  period  of  greatest  activity  is  generally  before  Christmas. 

pamphlet  binders  issuing  holiday  advertisements 
for  firms  in  many  other  industries,  look  forward  to 
a  harvest  of  orders  beginning  in  the  early  autumn. 
Magazine  binders  count  on  larger  issues  in  the 
three  months  preceding  Christmas.  Besides  the 

104 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

busy  period  occurring  annually,  magazine  binderies 
have  also  a  monthly  or  weekly  rush  preceding  the 
date  of  issue,  followed  often  by  days  of  unemploy- 
ment. Spring  fashion  books,  school  books,  com- 
mercial registers,  seedsmen's  catalogues,  and  tele- 
phone directories  have  well  defined  seasons.  Thus 
the  census  figures  cannot  show  the  actual  fluctua- 
tion of  the  force  in  any  one  branch  of  the  trade 
during  the  year,  for  they  are  made  up  of  the  com- 
bined statistics  of  these  various  branches,  whose 
rush  periods  occurring  at  different  times  balance 
each  other.  The  results  of  our  inquiry  regarding 
the  period  of  maximum  employment  in  different 
types  of  binderies  are  shown  in  Tables  14  and  15. 

TABLE  15.— BOOKBINDING   ESTABLISHMENTS   IN   MAN- 
HATTAN. BY  SEASON  OF  GREATEST  ACTIVITY* 


Season  of  Great- 
est Activity 
of  Binderies 

NUMBER  OF  EDITION,. 
PAMPHLET,  AND  JOB 
BINDERIES 

NUMBER 

OF 

BLANK- 
BOOK 
BIND- 
ERIES 

TOTAL 

Employing 
less  than 
50  Women 

Employing 
50  or  more 
Women 

Num- 
ber 

Per 
Cent 

Winter  b 
Summer 
Quarterly 
Monthly 
"According  to  or- 
ders" 
"  Steady  " 

37 

i 
i 
9 

30 
37 

13 

2 
I 

5 

3 
13 

20 

2 

8 

22 

70 

5 

2 
14 

41 
72 

34 

3 

i 

7 

20 

35 

Total 

H5 

37 

52 

2O4 

100 

a  Of  the  210  establishments  investigated,  6  did  not  supply  informa- 
tion. 

b  The  period  of  greatest  activity  is  generally  before  Christmas. 
105 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

The  binderies  having  "steady  work"  number 
35  per  cent  of  the  total  reporting,  and  employ 
33  per  cent  of  the  total  number  of  bindery 
women.  Of  the  women  employed  in  edition, 
pamphlet,  and  job  binderies  having  a  force  of 
50  or  more  women,  ^38  per  cent  work  in  estab- 
lishments whose  season  is  said  to  be  steady,  while 
of  those  who  work  in  binderies  having  a  force  of 
less  than  50,  only  23  per  cent  are  reported  to  be 
steadily  employed.  In  some  cases,  however,  this 
report  of  "steady  employment"  means  that  the 
busy  season  is  not  definitely  marked.  It  does  not 
mean  always  that  the  total  force  is  employed  on 
full  time  throughout  the  year.  Winter  is  the 
busy  season  for  41  per  cent  of  the  women  employed 
in  small  binderies,  for  35  per  cent  of  those  em- 
ployed in  larger  establishments,  and  for  47  per 
cent  of  the  blankbook  makers.  "According  to 
orders,"  manifestly  an  evidence  of  an  uncertain 
season,  is  the  report  for  24  per  cent  of  the  women 
at  work  in  small  binderies.  Of  the  whole  group, 
winter  is  the  busy  season  for  38  per  cent  of  the 
bindery  women;  summer  for  3  per  cent;  quar- 
terly for  2  per  cent;  and  monthly  for  1 1  per  cent. 
"According  to  orders"  is  the  report  for  20  per  cent 
of  the  binderies,  large  and  small,  employing  1 3  per 
cent  of  the  women  workers.  The  proportion  of 
workers  laid  of?  in  dull  season  is  shown  in  Table  16. 

Of  the  maximum  force  of  women  employed  in 
the  busy  season,  76  per  cent,  according  to  the  state- 
ments of  employers,  are  at  work  in  the  dull  season. 

1 06 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

In  different  groups  of  binderies  this  proportion 
varies.  In  blankbook  making  90  per  cent  of  the 
maximum  force  are  at  work  in  slack  season,  while 
in  edition,  pamphlet,  and  job  binderies  the  mini- 
mum force  is  only  63  per  cent  of  the  maximum  in 
those  establishments  employing  less  than  50  women, 
and  8 1  per  cent  in  those  employing  50  or  more. 
Blankbook  binderies  appear  to  have  the  steadiest 
seasons.  In  edition,  pamphlet,  and  job  binderies, 
unemployment  is  most  serious  in  the  smaller  estab- 
lishments employing  less  than  50  women. 

TABLE    16.— PROPORTION    OF    WOMEN    EMPLOYED    IN 

BOOKBINDING  "LAID  OFF"  IN  DULL  SEASON 

IN  ESTABLISHMENTS  IN  MANHATTAN  a 


Kind  of  Bindery 

Binderies 
for  which 
Informa- 
tion was 
Secured 

NUMBER  OF 
WOMEN 
EMPLOYED 

WOMEN  "LAID 
OFF"  IN  DULL 
SEASON 

Maxi- 
mum 

Mini- 
mum 

Num- 
ber 

Per  Cent 

of  Maxi- 
mum 

Edition,       pamphlet, 
and    job   binderies 
employing 
Less  than  50  women 
50  or  more  women 
Blankbook     binderies 
Temporary      bindery 
departments 

118 
37 
53 

15 

1,832 
3,208 
860 

40 

1,148 
2>597 
773 

684 
61  1 

87 

40 

37 
'9 

10 
IOO 

Total      .      .      .      . 

223 

5.940 

4,518 

1,422 

24 

a  Of  the  280  binderies  visited,  33  were  only  temporary  depart- 
ments, and  37  supplied  in  general  inadequate  information.  Thus  in 
the  general  discussion  only  210  binderies  have  been  included.  In 
this  consideration  of  seasons,  however,  it  has  been  thought  essential 
to  include  as  far  as  possible  all  the  binderies  visited.  Fifty-seven 
did  not  supply  information  on  this  point. 

107 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

These  figures  indicate  that  the  demand  for 
workers  so  fluctuates  that  one  of  every  four  bin- 
dery women  needed  in  the  busy  season  is  super- 
fluous when  the  book  market  is  dull.  When 
orders  grow  brisk  again  employers  rely  largely  on 
advertisements  to  increase  their  force.  Thus  the 
advertising  columns  of  the  newspaper  considered 
in  relation  to  other  data  on  this  point  are  a 
source  of  information  regarding  irregular  employ- 
ment. They  indicate  also  the  processes  in  which 
changes  are  most  frequent. 

TABLE  17.— PROCESSES  MENTIONED  IN  ADVERTISE- 
MENTS FOR  BINDERY  WOMEN  IN  NEW  YORK 
WORLD,  ON  SUNDAYS  AND  WEDNESDAYS,  FROM 
JULY  1,  1908,  TO  JUNE  30,  1909  


Process  of  Work  for  Which 
Workers  were  Wanted 


Times  each 
Process  was 
Mentioned 


Hand  folding 311 

Wire-stitching 102 

Machine  folding  (point  folder,  drop-roll,  etc.)  and 

knocking  up 86 

"General,"  "all  round,"  "experienced,"  "generally 

useful,"  etc 76 

Numbering,  perforating,  paging,  check-end  printing  65 

Hand  gathering 58 

Hand  and  bench  sewing  (full  and  half  bound  work)  .  47 

Feeding  ruling  machine 46 

Silk-stitching,  looping,  stringing  cards  ...  43 

Inserting  (hand) 37 

Hand  pasting 34 

Tipping,  covering,  paper  siding 32 

Learners 31 

Forewomen 26 

Wrapping,  examining,  mailing,  shipping  ...  23 

Machine  sewing  (including  "cutting  off")  .  .  20 

Collating 14 

Gold  leaf  laying 12 

Head-trimming i 

Total    .  1,064 


108 


Box  GIRLS 

(Behind  them  is  an  automatic  folding  machine  from  which  they  lift 
the  folded  sheets) 


MEN  CASE-MAKING  AND  GIRLS  LABELING 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

Hand  folders,  who  more  often  than  others  are 
employed  for  temporary  work,  face  frequent 
changes.  They  exceed  any  other  group  of  workers 
in  the  number  of  times  they  are  mentioned  in  ad- 
vertisements. Wire-stitchers,  often  engaged  for  a 
small  order  of  pamphlets,  come  second.  Least 
frequently  mentioned*  are  gold  leaf  layers,  whose 
work  requires  care  and  skill  in  handling  such  pre- 
cious material;  collators,  whose  task  is  a  respon- 
sible one;  and  workers  experienced  in  machine 
sewing,  which  is  considered  the  most  highly  skilled 
process  in  a  bindery.  1 1  would  appear  that  workers 
skilled  in  these  processes  are  not  easy  to  secure, 
and  are  therefore  less  liable  to  be  discarded  in  dull 
season.  The  months  of  greatest  demand  and  the 
branches  of  the  trade  which  most  frequently  adver- 
tise in  the  newspapers  are  shown  in  Table  18. 

A  further  tabulation  of  the  total  advertise- 
ments,daily  and  Sunday, which  appeared  in  the  last 
six  months  of  the  period  covered  in  the  preceding 
table,  showed  that  they  were  inserted  by  1 14  firms, 
including  some  who  needed  workers  for  temporary 
bindery  departments  in  establishments  engaged 
in  allied  work.  One  firm  advertised  45  times,  and 
one  37.  Of  the  remainder,  37  inserted  one  to  five 
advertisements ;  4 1 ,  five  to  i  o ;  20,  i  o  to  1 5 ;  8,  1 5  to 
20;  and  6,  20  to  30.  Of  the  total  the  largest  num- 
ber appeared  in  March,  probably  due  to  the  fact 
that  general  industrial  conditions  were  better  in 
the  first  six  months  of  1909  than  in  the  latter 
part  of  1908.  Magazine  and  pamphlet  binderies, 

*  Except  head-trimming,  a  process  in  a  job  bindery. 
109 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 


• 


aiO™ 

£D£ 
u. 


s 


. 

00  >. 


t*s 

*->       CQ 


41 
111 


O  .- 

ill 


O 

CT\ 


—   rr\  t^OO  00   O  VO 


10 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

including  bindery  departments  of  printing  estab- 
lishments, were  responsible  for  344,  or  46  per 
cent,  of  the  advertisements. 

Seasonal  contraction  of  the  force,  however,  is 
not  the  only  cause  of  irregular  employment  in 
bookbinding.  Girls  may  leave  positions  or  be  dis- 
charged when  the  largest  number  of  orders  are 
on  hand,  and  thus  irregular  employment  is  greater 
than  would  appear  from  a  study  merely  of  the 
bindery  season  as  it  fluctuates  with  the  changing 
demand  for  books,  pamphlets,  and  magazines. 
Other  factors  contributing  to  unemployment  and 
to  frequent  changes  in  jobs  are  shown  in  a  tabula- 
tion of  the  reasons  for  leaving  353  of  the  positions 
recorded  in  the  trade  histories  of  the  group  of 
workers  interviewed. 

If  we  separate  those  reasons  which  obviously 
grow  out  of  trade  conditions,  we  find  that  they 
form  a  group  of  73  per  cent  of  the  total.  Illness 
may  or  may  not  be  due  to  trade  conditions. 
"Didn't  like  it,"  or  "disagreement"  indicates 
a  minor  form  of  maladjustment  which  might  have 
been  avoided.  They  are  responsible  for  9  per 
cent  of  the  changes.  "Worker  unsatisfactory" 
is  either  a  problem  of  education  or  an  indi- 
cation of  the  need  of  better  methods  of  finding 
the  right  place  for  the  right  worker.  The 
apparent  unimportance  of  changes  in  machinery 
as  a  reason  for  loss  of  work  is  interesting  in 
view  of  the  many  comments  made  on  this  sub- 
ject by  workers.  It  is  probable  that  it  was  the 
indirect  cause  in  more  cases  than  appear  in  the 

in 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 


TABLE    19— REASONS    FOR    LEAVING    POSITIONS     IN 

BINDERIES  AS  STATED  BY  WOMEN  EMPLOYED 

IN  BOOKBINDING 


Reason  for  Leaving  Position 


Number 

Per  Cent 

Slack  season  a       
To  advance,  —  higher  wages  or  better  work  a  . 
Firm  failed,  moved,  etc.  a  
Dissatisfied  with  conditions  of  work  a  (night  work, 
bad    air,  standing   at   work,    carrying    heavy 

146 

43 
30 

23 

41.4 

12.2 

8.5 

6.5 

"Didn't  like  it"    
Illness    
Disagreement        
Strikes,  rules  of  union,  etc.  a 
To  return  to  former  position  or  occupation 
Worker  unsatisfactory         .... 
Changes  in  machinery  a 
Other  reasons  (employer's  violation  of  factory 
laws,  or  to  marry,  or  other  reason) 

15 
15 
ii 

9 
8 

3 

32 

5-1 
4.2 
4.2 

3 

2.3 
9.1 

Total  

353 

IOO.O 

POSITIONS  LEFT 
FOR  EACH  SPECI- 
FIED REASON 


a  Reasons  obviously  due  to  trade  conditions. 

table.  As  already  pointed  out  in  Chapter  III,  the 
introduction  of  a  new  machine  may  result  first  of 
all  in  a  general  reorganization  with  a  temporary 
transfer  of  workers  to  other  processes.  Often  the 
workers  find  that  their  wages  are  less  in  these  other 
lines  of  work  and  leave  for  that  reason,  or  because 
the  changed  conditions  result  in  a  gradual  reduc- 
tion of  the  force.  While  the  change  in  machinery 
is  the  real  cause  of  this  loss  of  position,  it  may  not 
be  the  immediate  reason  appearing  in  the  tabula- 
tion. 

112 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

For  all  the  reasons  listed,  jobs  tend  to  be  of  short 
duration,  and  workers  are  likely  to  drift  from 
bindery  to  bindery.  To  measure  the  length  of 
employment  in  one  position,  a  tabulation  has  been 
made  of  the  duration  of  the  last  position  preceding 
the  date  of  the  interview. 


TABLE   20.— LENGTH    OF    TIME    FOR    WHICH    WOMEN 

WERE  EMPLOYED  IN  LATEST  POSITION   IN 

BOOKBINDING* 


NUMBER  OF  WOMEN  EMPLOYED 

SPECIFIED  LENGTH  OF  TIME  IN 

Time  in  Position 

/  /7C/ 

Present  Position,  if 

Position 

Worker  is  still  in 
Her  First  Position 

Left 

in  the  Trade 

Less  than  i  month    . 

29 

I 

i  month  and  less  than  3  months 

25 

3 

3  months  and  less  than  6  months 

17 

i 

6  months  and  less  than  9  months 

9 

6 

9  months  and  less  than  12  months 

7 

2 

Total  less  than  i  year 

87 

13 

i  year  and  less  than  2  years  . 

25 

8 

2  years  and  less  than  3  years 

12 

5 

3  years  and  less  than  5  years 

14 

11 

5  years  and  less  than  10  years 

10 

5 

10  years  and  less  than  15  years 

1 

4 

Total  

149 

46 

a  Of  201  women  interviewed,  6  did  not  supply  information. 

Thus  87  of  the  149  who  are  no  longer  in  their 

first  positions  in  bookbinding,  held  their  last  job 

less  than  one  year.     Yet,  as  already  noted,  the 

majority  had  been  in  the  trade  much  longer  than 

8  113 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

one  year.  Only  17  per  cent  of  those  interviewed 
have  had  less  than  one  year's  experience  in  the 
trade,  29  per  cent  have  worked  in  binderies  one 
to  three  years,  18  per  cent  three  to  five  years, 
25  per  cent  five  to  ten  years,  and  1 1  per  cent 
ten  years  or  longer.*  Obviously  this  experience  in 
many  cases  has  included  more  than  one  bindery, 
or  more  than  one  occupation.  The  number  of 
positions  (including  those  in  other  occupations  as 
well  as  bookbinding)  in  which  these  girls  have 
been  employed  in  so  short  a  time  as  twelve  months 
preceding  the  interview,  is  shown  in  Table  21. 

TABLE  21.— NUMBER  OF  POSITIONS*  HELD  IN  PAST  YEAR 

BY  WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING  AT 

TIME  OF  INVESTIGATION  b 


Number  of  Positions  Held 


Number 

Per  Cent 

1       ....             .       . 

83 

51 

2         ....                   . 

35 

22 

3      ....             . 

26 

.6 

4       ....              . 

13 

8 

$   or  6    ...              . 

4 

2 

7  and  less  than  1  1  .               .        . 

2 

I 

Total  

l63 

100 

NUMBER  OF  WOMEN  WHO 

WERE  IN  SPECIFIED  NUMBER 

OF  POSITIONS  IN  THE  PAST 

YEAR 


a  In  determining  the  number  of  positions,  all  occupations,  whether 
in  bookbinding  or  in  some  other  trade,  have  been  considered. 

b  Of  20 1  women  interviewed,  29  had  not  been  wage-earners  dur- 
ing the  entire  past  year  and  9  did  not  supply  information. 

Of  the  1 63  women  included  here,  all  of  whom  have 
been  wage-earners  a  year  or  more,  80,  or  nearly 

*  See  Table  13,  p.  98. 
114 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

half,  have  worked  in  two  or  more  establishments 
in  the  past  twelve  months,  and  a  few  have  changed 
from  one  employer  to  another  four  times  or  more. 
For  the  worker  such  frequent  change,  whether  it 
be  due  to  fluctuating  seasons,  uneven  demand  for 
labor,  a  casual  attitude  toward  work,  or  any  other 
cause,  industrial  or  personal,  means  inevitably  a 
loss  of  income.  The  first  phase  of  the  question 
to  be  considered  is  the  loss  of  time  between  "jobs." 
This  was  determined  for  176  positions. 

TABLE  22— PERIODS   FOR  WHICH   WOMEN    EMPLOYED 
IN  BOOKBINDING  WERE  IDLE  AFTER  LEAV- 
ING POSITIONS 


Time  Idle 

POSITIONS  AFTER  LEAVING 
WHICH  WOMEN  WERE  IDLE 
FOR  PERIODS  SPECIFIED 

Number 

Per  Cent 

"No  time"    
Less  than  i  month 
i  month  and  less  than  2  months 
2  months  and  less  than  3  months 
3  months  or  more 

65 

52 
16 

12 

33 

37 
28 

9 
7 
'9 

Total   

,76 

100 

The  worker  who  finds  another  place  within  a 
week  is  likely  to  say  that  she  has  lost  "no  time/' 
Although  this  was  the  statement  made  of  more 
than  a  third  of  the  positions,  it  is  probable  that 
in  many  of  these  cases  a  day,  at  least,  was  lost. 
In  more  than  a  third  the  loss  was  one  month  or 
more. 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

It  is  not  only  between  positions  that  a  worker 
loses  time.  She  may  be  "laid  off"  for  two  or 
three  weeks,  or  may  work  only  part  of  the  time 
without  severing  her  connection  with  the  estab- 
lishment. The  vital  fact  to  determine  in  a  study 
of  irregular  employment  is  the  total  loss  of  time 
and  wages  suffered  by  the  worker  through  as  long 
a  period  as  her  memory  can  be  trusted.  This  is 
information  which  can  be  secured  from  no  one  ex- 
cept the  worker.  The  payrolls  in  an  establish- 
ment would  give  data  only  during  her  period  of 
employment  there,  without  showing  whether  she 
was  employed  elsewhere,  or  whether  she  was  out 
of  work  the  rest  of  the  year.  Yet,  as  already  ex- 
plained, to  secure  such  facts  accurately  from  the 
workers  is  exceedingly  difficult,  especially  as  the 
more  irregular  the  employment  the  more  strenu- 
ous is  the  task  required  of  the  memory.  This 
difficulty  is  not  peculiar  to  a  study  of  women  in 
the  bookbinding  industry.  A  search  through  lit- 
erature on  the  subject  reveals  the  lack  of  case  his- 
tories of  the  workers  which  would  show,  as  no  other 
source  of  information  can,  the  effect  of  irregularity 
on  the  worker's  income.  For  this  reason  data 
about  even  a  few  cases  will  be  of  value. 

Of  the  bindery  girls  interviewed  29  had  not 
been  wage-earners  during  the  entire  past  year, 
and  52  could  not  state  the  length  of  unemployment 
accurately  enough  for  tabulation.  Table  23  con- 
tains the  records  of  the  remaining  120. 


116 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

TABLE  23.— TIME  LOST  IN  THE  PAST*  YEAR  FROM  ALL 

CAUSES    BY    WOMEN    EMPLOYED    IN    BOOK- 

BINDINGb 


Time  Lost 

Women  Who  Lost 
the  Time  Specified 

"No  time"      
Less  than  i  month         
i  month  and  less  than  3  months 
3  months  and  less  than  6  months 
6  months  or  more  

14 
36 
36 
18 
16 

Total  reporting      

120 

a  Preceding  date  of  interview. 

b  Of  the  20 1  women  interviewed,  29  had  not  been  wage-earners 
during  the  past  full  year,  and  52  did  not  supply  information. 

Less  than  one  in  eight  reported  no  time  lost  for 
any  cause,  while  three  in  10  reported  a  loss  of 
one  to  three  months,  and  more  than  one  in  four 
lost  three  months  or  more.  The  causes  of  the  lost 
time  were  about  as  varied  as  the  reasons  already 
cited  for  leaving  positions.  An  estimate  of  lost 
time  from  slack  season  alone  was  secured  from  148. 
This  group  in  Table  24  is  larger  than  that  in  the 
preceding  table,  because  not  all  of  these  148  could 
give  an  account  of  the  time  out  of  work  for  all 
other  causes,  but  they  did  make  convincing  state- 
ments about  the  weeks  when  they  were  "laid 
off — slack/'  a  phrase  which  has  become  very 
familiar  to  investigators. 

Of  the  148,  who  reported,  a  little  more  than  a 
fourth  had  lost  no  time  because  of  slack  season. 
Twenty-five  per  cent  could  only  say  that  they 
had  suffered  from  this  cause  and  could  not 

117 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

count  up  the  days  when  they  had  worked  part  time, 
or  when  they  had  been  out  of  work  between  jobs,  or 
were  laid  off  for  temporary  periods.  The  others 
made  definite  estimates  of  loss, — 18  per  cent  less 
than  one  month,  15  per  cent  one  to  three  months, 
9  per  cent  three  to  six  months,  and  5  per  cent  six 
months  or  more.  These  were  not  uninterrupted 
periods.  They  were  the  sum  of  scattered  days  or 
weeks  out  of  work  through  the  year. 

TABLE    24.— TIME   LOST   IN    PAST*  YEAR    BECAUSE   OF 

SLACK  SEASON,  BY  WOMEN    EMPLOYED   IN 

BOOKBINDINGb 


Time  Lost 

Women  Who  Lost  the 
Time  Specified 

"No  time"      
Less  than  i  month         ... 
i  month  and  less  than  3  months. 
3  months  and  less  than  6  months 
6  months  or  more  .... 
Some  time  lost,  length  could  not  be  estimated 
(part  time,  etc.)         

40 
27 

22 

14 
8 

37 

Total  reporting       

148 

*  Preceding  date  of  interview. 

k  Of  the  20 1  women  interviewed,  29  had  not  been  wage-earners 
during  the  past  full  year,  and  24  did  not  supply  information. 

The  periods  of  employment  between  these  slack 
days  were  not  in  binderies  only.  Thus  even  these 
losses  are  less  than  they  would  have  been  had  not 
many  bindery  girls  found  work  in  other  occupa- 
tions. Only  37  per  cent  of  those  interviewed  had 
not  worked  in  any  trade  except  bookbinding,  28  per 
cent  reported  one  other  occupation,  while  35  per 

118 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

cent  had  been  employed  in  two  or  more  other  in- 
dustries in  the  course  of  their  careers  as  wage-earn- 
ers. Some  of  these  had  worked  in  as  many  as 
five  or  six  other  lines  of  employment.  The  list 
of  other  occupations  is  so  varied  that  it  reads  like 
a  page  from  the  census.  Bindery  girls  have  been 
errand  girls,  cash  girls,  saleswomen,  domestic 
servants,  waitresses,  nurses,  clerical  workers,  tele- 
phone operators,  laundry  workers,  dressmakers, 
milliners,  straw  sewers,  and  machine  operators  in 
other  trades.  Nor  is  this  list  complete.  Their 
employment  in  processes  of  work  more  or  less 
closely  allied  with  bookbinding  includes  slip- 
sheeting  in  printing  offices,  folding  patterns, 
sample  mounting,  stationery  work,  sorting  and 
packing  cards,  and  pasting  calendars. 

The  statements  of  a  few  of  the  girls  in  the  group 
whose  records  appear  in  these  statistics  may  em- 
phasize further  the  facts  about  irregular  work. 
An  inserter  employed  in  a  magazine  bindery 
earned  $12  one  week,  $12  the  next,  had  no  work 
and  no  pay  the  third,  and  earned  between  $8.00 
and  $9.00  the  fourth.  She  said  that  this  was  the 
story  of  a  typical  month's  work.  Another,  a 
learner,  when  asked  to  tell  what  her  earnings  had 
been  in  the  past  four  weeks  said,  "a  little  over 
$4.00  the  first  week,  a  little  more  than  $5.00  the 
second,  $5.92  the  third,  and  I  got  $4.65  this  week. 
Sometimes  I  work  two  full  weeks  in  the  month  but 
not  often.  We're  not  often  laid  off,  but  a  week  or 
two  in  the  month  we're  on  part  time  and  go  home 

119 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

at  2  or  3  or  4  o'clock  in  the  afternoon."  An- 
other's record  reads,  "Two  weeks  ago  made 
$9.00,  last  week  $1.50;  had  only  two  days'  work. 
About  two  and  a  half  full  weeks  of  work  in  the 
month,  not  more." 

"I  earned  $5.40  this  week;  last  week  I  earned 
$9.00,"  said  an  expert  feeder  of  the  drop-roll  fold- 
ing machine  in  an  edition  and  pamphlet  bindery. 
She  had  been  employed  in  the  bookbinding  trade 
six  years.  "Work  is  dull  in  the  bindery  now. 
There  are  signs  up  saying  that  we  must  not  stop 
work  until  the  whistle  blows.  They  make  strict 
rules  like  that  because  it's  slack  and  they  want  an 
excuse  to  lay  us  off,  but  we're  all  behaving  ourselves. 
My  brother  who  works  in  the  same  place  told  me 
to  go  every  day  whether  there  was  work  or  not, 
because  otherwise  I  might  lose  my  place.  Last  Sat- 
urday I  knew  I  should  not  make  a  cent,  but  I  went 
just  the  same  and  paid  my  carfare."  She  said  that 
it  was  impossible  to  tell  how  much  time  she  had  lost. 
During  two  weeks  in  the  month  a  magazine  was 
being  bound.  At  other  times  their  work  depended 
on  whether  a  catalogue  was  •  being  issued  or  a 
novel  was  ready  for  the  binder.  This  girl  com- 
plained of  another  cause  of  loss, — lack  of  prompt- 
ness in  repairing  machines  when  they  are  out  of 
order.  If  the  operator  is  a  piece  worker,  every 
hour  of  delay  reduces  her  earnings.  She  has  had 
this  experience  several  times  recently.  When  con- 
ditions were  favorable  and  work  plenty,  her  usual 
earnings  were  $9.00  in  a  week,  but  she  could  not 

120 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

even  estimate  her  yearly  income,  so  much  did  it 
vary  from  year  to  year, — not  because  of  variation 
in  her  personal  efficiency  but  because  of  unforeseen 
changes  in  the  condition  of  the  book  market,  or  in 
the  prosperity  of  the  firm  employing  her. 

This  girl  was  a  skilled  worker  in  the  trade.  For 
less  expert  bindery  girls  conditions  are  more 
serious.  Since  hand  folding  has  become  a  casual 
task,  necessary  only  for  certain  types  of  work  for 
which  machines  are  not  adapted,  the  hand  folders 
are  drifters  in  the  trade.  One  of  them  had  been 
employed  several  years  in  binderies  but  had  never 
learned  to  operate  a  machine.  Hand  folding  had 
been  her  principal  work.  As  a  learner  she  had 
worked  six  months  in  an  edition  and  pamphlet  bind- 
ery, hand  folding,  straightening  sheets,  inserting, 
gathering,  and  mailing.  Then  she  was  "laid  off — 
slack."  Her  subsequent  trade  history  is  made 
up  of  many  brief  jobs.  She  worked  two  or  three 
months  in  an  edition  bindery,  folding  by  hand, 
earning  $7.00  a  week;  one  month  in  a  pamphlet 
bindery,  $6.00  or  $7.00;  two  months  in  a  magazine 
bindery,  $7.00;  six  months  in  a  printing  establish- 
ment, hand  folding,  inserting,  gathering,  with  a 
piece-work  wage  varying  from  $7.00  to  $9.00; 
three  or  four  months  binding  pamphlets,  $8.00 
to  $9.00;  returned  to  the  printing  establishment 
twice  in  the  year,  once  for  two  months,  and  once 
for  eight  months,  earning  $7.00  to  $9.00;  worked 
one  year  in  another  printer's  bindery,  earning  $8.00 
to  $9.00  until  the  firm  failed.  After  losing  two  to 

121 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

three  months  of  work,  she  got  a  job  folding  pamph- 
lets by  hand  but  stayed  only  one  day,  leaving  be- 
cause she  was  obliged  to  work  on  a  raised  platform 
less  than  six  feet  from  the  ceiling,  and  carry 
sheets  from  the  bindery  below  it.  In  every 
other  case,  except  when  the  firm  failed,  the 
reason  for  leaving  was  "work  slack/'  "I  would 
never  advise  a  girl  to  go  into  bindery  work/'  was 
her  comment,  already  familiar  to  investigators  by 
frequent  repetition.  "It's  awfully  unsteady,  and 
anyway,  there  are  too  many  in  it  already." 

Another  group  of  girls  have  not  wandered  from 
bindery  to  bindery  in  this  way.  One  of  these  has 
been  employed  in  the  same  bookbinding  establish- 
ment eight  years,  and  is  now  a  collator  there. 
With  the  exception  of  a  candy  factory  where  she 
stuffed  dates  one  week  just  after  leaving  school,  it 
was  the  only  place  where  she  had  ever  worked. 
Every  summer  while  work  was  slack  she  has  taken 
a  vacation  of  two  weeks,  receiving  no  wages  during 
that  time.  She  says  that  in  other  binderies  col- 
lators earn  a  dollar  more  a  week  than  she  is  re- 
ceiving. "  But  it's  worth  the  extra  dollar  to  me," 
she  said,  "not  to  be  in  a  place  where  they  rush 
you."  Still,  she  is  sorry  that  she  has  stayed  so 
long.  "They  think  more  of  you  if  you  change 
more."  During  the  preceding  year  she  lost  a 
great  deal  of  time  because  of  the  widespread  in- 
dustrial depression.  For  several  months  there 
had  been  no  work  on  Saturday  morning,  and  the 
loss  even  of  this  half-day  cost  her  nearly  70  cents 

122 


COLLATING 


GATHERING  MACHINE 

(Man  operating  and  women  filling  the  boxes  and  taking  out  the 
gathered  books) 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

of  her  week's  pay  and  reduced  her  weekly  earnings 
to  about  $7. 30. 

A  girl  sometimes  prefers  to  accept  a  lower  wage 
than  is  paid  elsewhere,  if  she  is  reasonably  sure  of 
continued  employment.  One  girl  has  been  em- 
ployed eleven  years  in  the  same  bindery,  "setting 
up"  machines.  She  says  that  it  is  a  machinist's 
work  and  that  she  could  earn  higher  wages  in 
another  bindery,  but  she  is  afraid  to  leave  lest 
another  position  might  not  be  as  steady.  Legal 
holidays  are  the  only  time  lost  in  the  year.  An- 
other has  been  employed  four  years  and  has  never 
lost  a  day  except  holidays.  Even  they  have  cost 
her  a  week's  wages  in  a  year.  She  is  receiving 
only  $7.00  a  week  for  operating  a  wire-stitching 
machine,  work  for  which  a  wage  of  $9.00  or  $10  is 
paid  in  some  binderies,  but  she  prefers  lower  pay 
and  steadier  work. 

The  irregular  employment  of  an  expert  folder 
who  helps  to  bind  a  commercial  register  issued 
quarterly,  is  pictured  in  Chart  IV.  She  worked 
in  the  bindery  from  February  i  to  March  7,  and 
was  laid  off  through  March  to  the  middle  of  May; 
worked  from  the  middle  of  May  to  July,  laid  off 
two  weeks  in  July ;  worked  from  August  i  to  Labor 
Day,  laid  off  Labor  Day  to  the  middle  of  Novem- 
ber; worked  from  the  middle  of  November  to 
January  15.  "It  would  have  been  better,"  she 
said,  "to  have  had  $6.00  a  week  steadily  instead 
of  earning  $8.00  so  irregularly." 

Loss  of  earnings  is  not  the  only  result  of  irregu- 
123 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

lar  employment.  The  discouraging  effect  on  the 
worker,  the  reckless  spirit  which  is  often  produced 
by  the  uncertainty  whether  one's  job  will  end  to- 
day or  last  another  month,  the  habit  of  drifting 
from  one  occupation  to  another, — these  are  wholly 


Returned  to 

work  middle  of 

November 


Laid  off  middle  of  January 

Returned  to  work 
February  i 


Laid  off 
March  7 


Laid  off 

Labor 

Day 


Returned  to  work 
August  i 


Laid  off  middle  of  July 


Returned  to  work 
middle  of  May 


CHART  IV. — PERIODS  OF  WORK  AND  IDLENESS,  DURING  ONE  YEAR, 
OF  A  GIRL  EMPLOYED  IN  BINDING  A  QUARTERLY  PUBLICATION. 


demoralizing  influences,  and  they  become  more 
demoralizing  rather  than  less  so  in  proportion  as 
the  worker's  wages  are  needed  for  the  support  of 
her  family.  Two  important  questions  arise  in  a 
discussion  of  possible  solutions.  First,  is  there 

124 


IRREGULARITY  OF  EMPLOYMENT 

any  way  of  meeting  the  present  seasonal  condi- 
tion, so  that  without  loss  of  time  or  wages,  the 
displaced  workers  may  be  transferred  systemat- 
ically from  one  bindery  to  another,  or  from  one 
occupation  to  another?  Second,  and  more  funda- 
mental, would  it  be  possible  to  plan  the  work  in 
such  a  way  that  the  workers  would  suffer  no  loss 
of  time  and  wages  during  the  year? 

At  present  the  bindery  girl  must  rely  chiefly  on 
her  own  efforts  to  solve  the  out-of-work  problem. 
Her  means  of  finding  positions  are  shown  in  Table 
25,  which  is  based  on  a  tabulation  of  how  439  jobs 
held  by  the  group  investigated  were  secured. 

TABLE  25.— MEANS  BY  WHICH  WOMEN  FIND  POSITIONS 
IN  BOOKBINDING  ESTABLISHMENTS 


Means  of  Finding  Positions 

POSITIONS  FOUND  BY 
EACH  SPECIFIED  M  EANS 

Number 

Per  Cent 

Relatives   
Friends       
Applied,  saw  sign  on  door      .... 
Advertisements        
Returned,  sent  for  by  former  employer 
Other  means     

57 
137 
75 
90 

32 

48 

13 
3' 

'7 

21 

7 
ii 

Total  

439 

IOO 

That  more  than  a  third  found  positions  through 
applying  at  the  bindery,  seeing  a  "help  wanted" 
sign  on  the  door,  or  by  answering  advertisements, 
is  significant  of  much  wasted  effort.  Employers 
say  that  in  certain  seasons  a  hundred  girls  will 
answer  an  advertisement  when  two  are  needed. 

12$ 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

"Applying"  usually  means  walking  the  streets 
until  a  job  is  secured.  To  find  a  position  with  the 
help  of  a  friend  means  often  a  haphazard  choice, 
but  it  is  the  bindery  girl's  chief  means  of  relief  from 
unemployment.  Because  these  methods  depend 
more  on  chance  than  on  forethought,  and  be- 
cause the  whole  problem  is  so  complex,  many  ob- 
servers whose  knowledge  of  labor  conditions  is 
most  intimate  are  urging  the  establishment  of  em- 
ployment bureaus  to  serve  as  clearing  houses, 
enabling  workers  to  get  readily  in  touch  with  posi- 
tions which  would  otherwise  be  unknown  to  them. 
In  a  careful  discussion  of  this  subject,  Dr. 
Edward  T.  Devine  writes*:  "The  question  which 
is  pertinent  and  important  is  whether  the  unem- 
ployed are  so  (i)  because  they  are  unemployable, 
(2)  because  there  is  no  work  to  be  had,  or  (3) 
because  of  maladjustment."  The  third  cause,  he 
says,  "an  efficient  employment  bureau  could  at 
least  to  some  extent  overcome.  It  is  obvious  that 
if  they  are  unemployed  because  they  are  unem- 
ployable, the  employment  bureau  is  no  remedy. 
The  only  adequate  remedy  for  a  lack  of  efficiency 
would  be  education  and  training.  If,  again,  they 
are  unemployed  because  of  a  real  and  permanent 
surplus  of  supply  over  the  demand  for  labor,  it  is 
plain  that  an  employment  bureau  could  not  remedy 
the  difficulty.  .  .  In  so  far,  however,  as  the  lack  of 


*  Report  on  the  Desirability  of  Establishing  an  Employment 
Bureau  in  the  City  of  New  York,  p.  5.  Russell  Sage  Foundation 
Publication.  New  York,  Charities  Publication  Committee,  1909. 

126 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

employment  is  due  to  maladjustment,  that  is,  to  the 
inability  of  people  who  want  work  to  get  quickly 
into  contact  with  opportunities  which  exist  and  to 
which  there  are  no  other  equally  appropriate  means 
of  access,  the  bureau  will  be  justified." 

It  cannot  be  said  that  irregularity  of  employ- 
ment in  the  bookbinding  trade  is  due  solely  to  this 
sort  of  maladjustment, — the  inability  of  workers 
needing  work  to  find  openings  where  workers  are 
needed.  Some  bindery  girls  are  drifters,  without 
the  foothold  which  skill  might  give  them  in  their 
occupation.  Undoubtedly  the  industry  itself  is 
in  part  responsible  for  producing  these  drifters, 
but  whatever  the  cause  may  be,  an  employment 
bureau  could  not  directly  apply  a  remedy.  Fur- 
thermore, a  large  amount  of  unemployment  in  this 
trade  is  due  to  the  unequal  distribution  of  work 
throughout  the  weeks  of  the  month,  or  the  months 
of  the  year,  which  automatically  results  in  a  sur- 
plus of  workers  at  certain  seasons.  An  employ- 
ment bureau  could  not  at  those  times  find  openings 
where  none  exist.  The  workers'  records  show, 
however,  that  transfers  from  one  establishment  to 
another,  from  one  branch  of  the  trade  to  another, 
or  even  from  bindery  work  to  some  other  occupa- 
tion, are  entirely  feasible.  The  difficulty  is  that 
because  of  the  lack  of  any  adequate  clearing  house 
for  such  transfers,  time  and  effort  are  wasted  in 
a  blind  search  for  jobs.  This  is  where  an  employ- 
ment bureau  would  find  its  opportunity,  provided 
its  equipment  were  adequate  and  its  reach  ex- 

127 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

tensive  in  many  different  fields  of  employment 
throughout  the  city.  Through  continuous  con- 
tact with  market  demands,  and  discriminating 
study  of  the  fitness  of  applicants,  unwise  choice  of 
positions  and  the  loss  of  time  involved  in  trans- 
ferring workers  from  one  establishment  to  another 
could  be  minimized,  with  distinct  advantage  both 
to  workers  and  to  employers.  This  same  first- 
hand experience  would  enable  an  employment 
agent  to  read,  in  advance,  the  signs  of  a  change  in 
machinery  or  methods  which  so  frequently  dis- 
places workers  without  sufficient  warning.  Fur- 
thermore, such  a  clearing  house  ought  also  to  be  a 
storehouse  of  information  regarding  the  causes  of 
irregular  employment. 

This  transfer  of  workers  from  one  position  to 
another,  without  undue  loss  of  time  and  earnings, 
is  an  immediate  practical  task,  demanding  a  more 
effective  system  of  guidance  than  newspaper  ad- 
vertisements can  supply.  More  fundamental,  how- 
ever, is  the  possibility  of  preventing  the  neces- 
sity for  such  frequent  transfers,  by  planning  the 
work  so  that  it  may  be  evenly  distributed  through- 
out the  year,  thus  avoiding  dangerous  over-fatigue 
at  one  period,  and  a  total  loss  of  income  at 
another.  Such  a  plan  would  involve  no  conflict 
of  interest  between  capital  and  labor,  since  for 
both  the  steady  use  of  the  plant  is  of  great  ad- 
vantage. 

At  present,  however,  little  is  being  done  in  the 
bookbinding  trade  to  bring  about  a  more  even 

128 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

distribution  of  orders  throughout  the  year.  Some 
employers  have  attempted  to  keep  the  force  to- 
gether by  various  devices,  such  as  dividing  the 
work  so  that  all  would  be  on  part  time  instead  of  a 
few  on  full  time  and  the  others  out  of  work.  In 
some  binderies  the  girls  are  laid  off  in  shifts  two 
or  three  days  at  a  time,  instead  of  their  being  dis- 
charged for  a  continuous  period.  The  binders 
who  have  attempted  to  remedy  this  irregularity 
by  inducing  publishers  to  place  orders  in  dull  sea- 
son, even  offering  substantial  reductions  in  price, 
say  that  their  efforts  have  met  with  no  encouraging 
response. 

It  is,  in  fact,  a  case  of  divided  responsibility. 
Author,  editor,  publisher,  printer,  binder,  critic, 
reader,  all  have  a  share,  more  or  less  remote,  in 
creating  the  conditions  which  make  the  bindery 
girl's  work  irregular.  If  the  author  has  been  tardy 
in  preparing  the  manuscript;  if  the  editor  has 
dallied  over  revision;  if  the  publisher,  with  his 
eye  on  the  critic  and  the  reader,  sends  the  book  to 
the  printer  at  the  moment  when  all  other  pub- 
lishers are  sending  their  books  and  insists  upon 
delivery  at  what  he  considers  the  psycholog- 
ical publication  hour;  if  the  printer  has  taken  so 
many  orders  that  he  finishes  this  one  several 
days  late, — then  all  together  will  demand  that  the 
bookbinder  make  up  for  these  delays  by  rushing 
through  the  binding  in  a  day  and  a  night.  In  the 
meantime  the  bookbinder,  eager  to  have  a  hand 
in  the  issue  of  as  many  as  possible  of  this  sudden 
9  129 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

harvest  of  volumes,  has  taken  more  contracts  than 
he  could  possibly  execute  during  the  normal  hours 
of  work.  At  the  last  moment  then,  when  the 
pressure  is  greatest,  it  is  the  bindery  hands  who 
must  make  up  for  the  time  lost  all  along  the  line. 
Following  this  rush  period  comes  unemployment 
or  part  time.  Thus  the  rush  period  deserves  con- 
sideration as  a  point  of  attack  in  attempting  to 
prevent  the  evil  of  slack  season. 

The  necessity  for  such  a  stampede  seems  to  be, 
after  all,  more  or  less  a  creation  of  the  imagination 
of  the  makers  and  sellers  of  literature.  Books  are 
not  perishable, — in  the  physical  sense.  They  can 
be  bound  and  stored  until  the  time  comes  to  flood 
the  market  with  them.  Furthermore,  publishers 
are  surely  not  powerless  to  create  in  the  popular 
imagination  the  desire  for  continuous  rather  than 
for  seasonal  publication.  If  critics  and  advertisers 
can  so  manipulate  the  intelligence  of  readers  as 
to  sell  one  hundred  thousand  copies  of  a  trashy 
novel,  why  can  they  not  persuade  the  same  readers 
to  buy  a  book  every  month?  Already  magazine 
publishers  have  begun  to  realize  that  they  need 
not  all  seek  the  same  date  of  publication. 

Unfortunately,  however,  a  stronger  motive  for 
change  is  needed  by  the  men  and  women  who  are 
managing  the  book  market  than  the  desire  to  give 
steady  work  to  an  unknown  bindery  hand.  Uni- 
form pressure  is  necessary  to  restrain  the  least 
humane  of  employers  from  under-bidding  his 
competitors  by  overworking  his  employes.  Such 

130 


IRREGULARITY  OF   EMPLOYMENT 

pressure  may  be  provided  by  factory  legislation. 
Interesting  testimony  on  this  point  was  brought 
together  in  a  report  of  commissioners  appointed 
to  inquire  into  the  working  of  the  Factory  and 
Workshops  Act  in  England  in  1876.  Members  of 
women's  trade  unions  were  called  to  testify. 

Bookbinders,  questioned  about  the  relation  of 
legislation  to  their  occupation,  complained  that 
the  trade  was  most  unnecessarily  considered  by 
the  law  a  season  trade.  Moreover,  they  thought 
that  the  existence  of  the  modification  (permitting 
an  extension  of  hours  to  fourteen  per  day,  during 
certain  periods  of  the  year)  made  employers  care- 
less of  due  economy  in  time.  They  declared  that 
"there  is  a  great  deal  of  work  done  during  those 
months  which  might  as  well  be  done  during  the 
slack  season,  such  as  school  books  or  anything  of 
that  kind  that  are  always  required,  but  they  are 
generally  kept  back  until  the  beginning  of  the 
winter  season  comes  on."  One  witness  was  asked 
whether  it  would  be  possible  to  bind  magazines 
without  working  overtime.  The  reply  was,  "Not 
at  present,  but  I  think  it  is  a  thing  which  could  be 
managed  in  time,  because  I  think  the  publishers, 
when  they  know  they  can  get  them  done  by  a 
certain  day,  very  often  keep  them  back  when  they 
might  be  pushed  forward;  because  in  such  an 
emergency  as  that  there  is  no  respect  to  the  Act, 
they  keep  them  back  until  the  last  moment."* 

*  Report  of  the  Commissioners  appointed  to  inquire  into  the 
working  of  the  Factory  and  Workshops  Acts,  Minutes  of  Evidence, 
p.  135.  London,  Eyre  and  Spottiswoode,  1876. 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

This  testimony,  corroborated  by  statements 
made  by  New  York  bookbinders,  suggests  that 
restrictions  on  overtime  in  busy  season  would  be 
a  powerful  means  of  compelling  a  more  even  dis- 
tribution of  orders.  The  bookbinder  who  was 
sure  that  he  and  all  his  competitors  must  obey 
a  state  law  limiting  the  hours  of  women's  work 
would  refuse  orders  which  he  could  not  execute  in 
a  normal  working  day.  Publishers  and  all  others 
concerned  in  the  issue  of  a  book  would  then  be 
forced  to  adjust  their  plans  to  the  new  condition, 
by  allowing  more  time  for  the  binding.  The  diffi- 
culty of  getting  work  done  in  busy  season  would 
also  make  them  more  responsive  to  the  binders' 
overtures  for  dull-season  orders.  It  is  evident, 
therefore,  that  in  legislation  limiting  the  hours 
of  work  the  state  has  one  means  of  meeting  its 
responsibility  for  the  problem  of  steadying  the 
seasons. 


132 


CHAPTER  VI 
OVERTIME  AND  THE  FACTORY  LAWS 

BOOKBINDERIES  are  factories  in  the  legal 
meaning  of  the  term.  According  to  the 
New  York  law  no  child  under  fourteen  years 
of  age  may  be  employed  in  a  bindery.  None  be- 
tween the  ages  of  fourteen  and  sixteen  may  work 
unless  provided  with  an  employment  certificate, 
nor  may  a  child  between  these  ages  work  longer 
than  eight  hours  in  a  day,  or  at  any  time,  except 
between  the  hours  of  8  a.  m.  and  5  p.  m.  At 
the  time  of  this  investigation,  no  woman  of 
sixteen  years  or  older  might  be  employed  more 
than  sixty  hours  weekly,  more  than  six  days  in  a 
week,  or  more  than  ten  hours  in  a  day  except  under 
certain  conditions.*  She  might  work  overtime, 
however,  regularly  on  five  days  in  the  week 
in  order  to  make  the  sixth  day  shorter.  Or  she 
might  work  overtime  irregularly  on  three  days  in 
the  week,  provided  that  the  working  day  never 

*  By  an  amendment  enacted  by  the  1912  legislature,  which  took 
effect  October  ist,  1912,  the  working  week  for  women  was  reduced  from 
sixty  to  fifty-four  hours,  and  the  working  day  to  nine  hours,  while 
certain  exception  clauses  permitted  ten  hours  under  certain  condi- 
tions, but  never  twelve  hours  as  was  possible  under  the  former  law. 
As  this  investigation  was  made  before  the  enactment  of  the  fifty- 
four  hour  law,  the  discussion  in  this  chapter  relates  to  a  working 
week  of  sixty  hours.  The  underlying  principles  of  enforcement, 
however,  and  the  need  for  public  support  of  such  legislation,  as  it 
is  illustrated  in  the  bookbinding  trade,  are  unchanged  by  the  differ- 
ences in  the  law. 

'33 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

exceeded  twelve  hours.  Practically  then,  the  New 
York  law  permitted  a  twelve-hour  day.  Under  no 
conditions  might  the  weekly  hours  exceed  sixty. 
No  woman  under  twenty-one  years  of  age  might 
work  between  the  hours  of  9  p.  m.  and  6  a.  m. 
Women  over  twenty-one  might  work  by  night  or 
by  day,  provided  the  working  week  did  not  exceed 
sixty  hours  and  that  the  working  day  was  not 
more  than  ten  hours,  except  under  the  conditions 
already  described,  when  a  twelve-hour  day  was 
permissible.  The  law  which  became  operative 
in  October,  1912,  reduced  the  sixty-hour  weekly 
limit  to  fifty-four,  and  the  daily  hours  to  nine, 
with  permission  to  work  ten  hours  on  the  same 
terms  which  formerly  made  twelve  hours  possible. 
For  children  under  sixteen  then,  the  statute  is 
plain, — no  work  before  8  a.  m.,  or  after  5  p.  m.  or 
longer  than  eight  hours  in  any  one  day,  but  as  soon 
as  the  sixteenth  birthday  is  passed  the  legal  day  is 
lengthened  and  confusing  exceptions  are  introduced 
into  the  law.  Their  application  to  the  bindery  in- 
dustry can  be  made  clearer  by  showing  the  actual 
hours  of  work  of  a  few  women  in  the  trade. 

A  girl  of  sixteen  worked  in  a  large  bindery  where 
books,  department  store  catalogues,  and  a  monthly 
magazine  were  bound.  Her  regular  hours  were 
eight  in  a  day,  from  8  a.  m.  to  5  p.  m.;  forty-eight 
in  a  week.  Each  month  from  the  i6th  to  the  25th, 
when  the  magazine  was  bound,  she  worked  until 
9  p.  m.  sometimes  twice  and  sometimes  three  times 
a  week.  Her  day  then  was  from  8  a.  m.  until 

134 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

9  p.  m.  with  an  hour  for  lunch  and  a  half-hour  for 
supper,  or  a  total  of  eleven  and  one-half  working 
hours,  excluding  meal  time.  The  total  weekly 
hours  of  labor  were  fifty-five  when  she  worked 
overtime  twice,  and  fifty-eight  and  a  half  when  she 
stayed  three  evenings.  This  schedule  of  hours  did 
not  violate  the  law  in  any  particular.  The  girl  was 
sixteen  years  old  and  hence  was  not  protected  by 
the  eight-hour  law  for  children  of  fourteen  and 
fifteen.  She  did  not  begin  work  before  6  a.  m. 
nor  work  later  than  9  p.  m.  She  had  thirty  minutes 
for  supper;  the  law  requires  only  twenty  minutes' 
recess  when  working  later  than  7  p.  m.  The  total 
daily  hours  of  actual  labor  when  working  over- 
time did  not  exceed  eleven  and  one-half,  and  never 
occurred  more  than  three  times  in  a  six-day  work- 
ing week;  the  law  permitted  twelve  hours  three 
days  in  the  week.  The  total  working  week  did 
not  exceed  fifty-eight  and  a  half  hours;  the 
law  permitted  sixty  hours.  Thus  it  was  possible 
to  work  overtime  without  violating  the  law. 

In  September  and  in  February,  however,  this 
bindery  no  longer  kept  within  the  law.  At  those 
seasons  the  fall  and  spring  catalogues  of  depart- 
ment stores  were  bound.  Instead  of  working 
three  nights,  employes  stayed  until  9  p.  m.  on  five 
nights  a  week  and  sometimes  added  three  hours 
on  Saturday,  so  that  the  working  week  was  sixty- 
five  and  a  half  hours  long  with  five  days  of  over- 
time, or  sixty-eight  and  a  half  when  the  Saturday's 
overtime  work  was  added. 

135 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

The  differences  between  this  schedule  and  the 
preceding  one  are  the  length  of  the  working  week, 
and  the  five  or  six  days  of  overtime,  instead  of 
two  or  three,  above  ten  hours.  These  differences 
constituted  violations  of  the  law.  Sixty-eight  and 
a  half  hours  exceeded  the  legal  sixty,  and  a  day  of 
longer  than  ten  hours  was  permissible  only  when  it 
occurred  (a)  regularly  on  five  days  or  less,  as  a  means 
of  shortening  the  sixth  day  while  completing  a  full 
week  of  sixty  hours  or  less,  or  (b)  irregularly 
on  three  days  or  less.  This  bindery  could  legally 
have  lengthened  its  daily  eight  hours  regularly  to 
eleven  from  Monday  to  Friday  and  then  worked  five 
hours  on  Saturday.  When  the  overtime  above  ten 
hours  occurred  "irregularly"  at  rush  seasons,  it 
must  be  limited  to  three  days  in  a  week. 

This  illustration  suffices  to  show  the  difficulty  of 
enforcing  either  the  sixty-hour  law  or  the  new 
fifty-four  hour  provision.  Two  or  three  nights  of 
overtime  does  not  constitute  a  violation.  Proof 
cannot  be  complete  without  data  showing  the  hours 
of  actual  work,  exclusive  of  meal  time,  each  day, 
and  their  combined  total.  A  single  inspection 
would  be  sufficient  to  give  basis  for  prosecution 
if  a  girl  under  twenty-one  were  found  working 
after  9  p.  m.  In  that  case,  the  inspector  would  be 
obliged  to  prove  the  age  as  well  as  the  time  at 
which  the  girl  was  found  at  work. 

This  proof  of  age  is  necessary  because,  as  soon 
as  a  woman  passes  her  twenty-first  birthday,  the 
provision  of  law  prohibiting  the  work  of  younger 

136 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

women  after  9  p.  m.  or  before  6  a.  m.  no  longer  ap- 
plies to  her.  A  girl  twenty-three  years  old  was 
employed  to  fill  the  boxes  of  a  gathering  machine 
in  a  magazine  bindery.  She  worked  from  8:30 
a.  m.  to  5 130  p.  m.  with  a  half  hour  at  noon.  She 
began  again  at  6:30  p.  m.  and  worked  until  mid- 
night. After  a  recess  of  thirty  minutes  she  con- 
tinued her  day's  task  until  5 130  a.  m.  This  was  a 
total  working  period  of  nineteen  hours.  Since 
the  law  permitted  a  twelve-hour  day,  and  did  not 
prohibit  employment  of  adult  women  during  the 
night,  a  working  day  of  twenty-four  hours  was  legal 
for  them.  With  the  stroke  of  the  clock  at  midnight, 
a  twelve-hour  day  ended  and  another  twelve-hour 
day  might  begin.  In  the  case  of  this  girl,  not  the 
long  stretch  of  work,  but  the  fact  that  fourteen  hours 
instead  of  twelve  preceded  midnight,  was  a  viola- 
tion of  the  law.  The  legal  provisions  would  have 
been  fulfilled  had  she  begun  work  two  hours  later 
and  stayed  in  the  bindery  until  noon  the  next  day. 
These  illustrations  reveal  the  inadequacy  of  the 
law,  its  confusing  exceptions  and  its  failure  to 
prohibit  night  work.  Exact  evidence  as  to  its 
enforcement  in  any  one  trade  is  difficult  to 
secure.  Employers  are  not  likely  to  give  full 
information  about  their  own  offenses  against  it. 
Workers  are  often  afraid  to  give  exact  facts 
damaging  to  their  employers,  lest  to  do  so  should 
result  in  loss  of  their  jobs.  In  the  bookbind- 
ing trade  in  particular,  investigators  encounter  the 
further  difficulty  that  overtime  is  so  customary 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

that  it  does  not  occur  to  the  workers  to  speak  of  it. 
They  are  surprised  at  the  question,  Have  you 
ever  worked  overtime?  "  If  you're  in  bindery 
work,  you  have  to,"  they  reply.  Nevertheless,  a 
statistical  measure  of  the  extent  of  overtime  work 
has  been  secured  by  tabulating  the  girls'  state- 
ments about  their  most  recent  positions.  Their 
testimony  about  the  physical  effects  of  the  work 
will  show  the  need  for  a  stronger  law  and  better 
enforcement.  First,  however,  it  is  important  to 
know  the  length  of  the  normal  working  day  and 
week  without  overtime,  as  it  appears  on  the  records 

TABLE  26.— DAILY   HOURS   OF  WORK  OF    WOMEN    EM- 
PLOYED IN  BOOKBINDING* 


WOMEN  WORKING  SPECIFIED  HOURS  IN 

Edition  and 

Daily  Hours  of  Work 

Pamphlet  Bind- 
eries Employing 
SO  or  more 

All  Other 
Binderies 

All  Binderies 

Women 

Num- 

Per 

Num- 

Per 

Num- 

Per 

ber 

Cent 

ber  • 

Cent 

ber 

Cent 

Less  than  8  hours 

58 

2 

58 

\ 

8  hours    . 

1,013 

3« 

420 

i? 

'.433 

25 

More   than   8,   less 

than  8}4     . 

21 

i 

21 

b 

8}4  and  less  than  9 

1,440 

45 

582 

24 

2,022 

36 

9  and  less  than  9^ 

790 

24 

1,214 

49 

2,OO4 

35 

9>£  and  less  than  10 

135 

6 

135 

2 

10  or  more 

16 

i 

16 

b 

Total 

3*243 

IOO 

2,446 

IOO 

5,689 

IOO 

a  Information  was  secured  from  208  binderies,  employing  a  normal 
force  of  5,689  women.  This  table  shows  hours  on  first  five  days  of 
the  week,  but  not  on  Saturdays.  b  Less  than  0.5  per  cent. 

I38 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

of  binderies,  supplemented  by  workers'  reports 
and  by  figures  given  by  the  New  York  State 
Department  of  Labor. 

Nearly  three-fourths  work  between  eight  and  a 
half  and  nine  and  a  half  hours  a  day,  while  25  per 
cent  have  an  even  eight-hour  day.  This  state- 
ment applies  to  the  hours  of  labor  on  the  first  five 
days  in  the  week.  In  many  cases  the  excess  over 
eight  hours  on  these  days  is  due  to  a  schedule  by 
which  the  working  period  on  Saturday  is  shortened, 
while  the  length  of  the  week  is  forty-eight  hours.* 

TABLE  27.— WEEKLY  HOURS  OF  WORK  OF  WOMEN  EM- 
PLOYED IN  BOOKBINDING* 


WOMEN  WORKING  SPECIFIED  HOURS  IN 

Edition   and 

Weekly  Hours 
of  Work 

Pamphlet  Binder- 
ies Employing  50 
or  more  Women 

All  Other 
Binderies 

All  Binderies 

Num- 

Per 

Num- 

Per 

Num- 

Per 

ber 

Cent 

ber 

Cent 

ber 

Cent 

48  hours  or  less 

2,278 

7' 

818 

35 

3,096 

56 

Over  48  and  less  than 

50         ... 

125 

4 

178 

8 

303 

6 

50  and  less  than  52 

135 

4 

332 

14 

467 

9 

52  and  less  than  54 

380 

12 

287 

12 

667 

12 

54  and  less  than  56 

275 

9 

617 

27 

892 

16 

56  and  less  than  58 

60 

3 

60 

i 

58  and  less  than  60 

.. 

16 

16 

b 

Total 

3.193 

100 

2,308 

100 

5.501 

100 

a  Of  the  5,689  women  employed  in  binderies  supplying  any  infor- 
mation regarding  hours,  188  were  in  establishments  which  did  not 
give  complete  data  on  weekly  hours  of  labor.  b  Less  than  0.5  per  cent. 

*  The  time  of  beginning  and  ending  work,  and  length  of  noon 
recess  are  shown  in  Appendix  B,  Tables  I,  J,  and  K,  pp.  254-255. 

139 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

Thus  when  not  working  overtime  56  per  cent  of 
the  bindery  women  in  these  establishments  have 
a  normal  working  week  of  forty-eight  hours,  or, 
in  a  very  few  cases,  less,  and  less  than  2  per  cent 
work  fifty-six  hours  or  more  a  week.  In  the  busy 
season,  however,  these  hours  are  frequently  pro- 
longed, and  this  lengthening  of  the  normal  day  or 
week  is  always  called  "overtime/'  although  it  may 
not  exceed  or  even  equal  the  limit  allowed  by  the 
law.  Thus,  a  distinction  must  be  kept  in  mind 
between  overtime  which  is  illegal  because  it  exceeds 
the  limits  set  by  law,  and  overtime  which  is  merely 
an  excess  above  the  usual  schedule  of  hours  pre- 
vailing in  an  establishment,  without  violating  the 
state  labor  law  designed  to  prevent  excessive  over- 
time. Of  the  36  large  edition  and  pamphlet  bin- 
deries from  which  information  about  overtime 
was  secured,  31  reported  that  they  lengthened  the 
hours  of  work  at  some  season  of  the  year.  Of  88 
smaller  establishments  giving  this  information, 
63  had  overtime,  and  of  31  blankbook  makers,  22. 
These  figures  are  based  on  the  employers'  state- 
ments. 

Although  these  establishments  may  not  all  ex- 
ceed the  limit  of  the  law,  the  girls'  statements  re- 
garding 227  positions  which  they  have  held  very 
recently  indicate  that  many  do.  Usually  one 
girl's  experience  represented  that  of  a  number  of 
her  fellow-workers.  Nine  per  cent  of  the  reports 
of  overtime  were  from  girls  under  sixteen,  22  per 
cent  from  those  sixteen  to  eighteen,  40  per  cent 

140 


WIRE-STITCHERS.     ARTIFICIAL  LIGHT  ALL  DAY 


ONE  END  OF  A  CROWDED  BINDERY 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

from  workers  between  eighteen  and  twenty-one, 
and  29  per  cent  from  those  twenty-one  and  over. 
This  indicates  how  large  is  the  proportion  of  young 
girls  among  the  workers  whose  hours  are  prolonged 
in  busy  season.  The  girls'  reports  covered  88 
different  binderies  of  which  36  were  edition 
and  pamphlet  binderies  employing  50  or  more 
women.  Seventy  per  cent,  159,  of  the  reports 
showed  overtime,  including  legal  and  illegal,  while 
more  than  half  of  these  instances  of  overtime 
were  violations  of  the  law.  Workers  reported  1 52 
distinct  violations  in  42  different  establishments. 
Table  28  classifies  these  violations  according  to 
the  section  of  the  law  to  which  they  relate. 


TABLE  28.— VIOLATIONS  IN   BOOKBINDING  ESTABLISH- 

MENTS  OF  LAW  RESTRICTING   HOURS  OF  WORK 

FOR  WOMEN  AND  GIRLS 


Nature  of  Violation 

Number  of  Viola- 
tions of  each 
Specified  Nature 

Employment  for  more  than  60  hours  weekly 
Employment  for  more  than  12  hours  daily  . 
Employment  for  more  than  10  hours  daily,  irregu- 
larly more  than  3  times  a  week  .... 
Less   than   20  minutes  allowed    for   supper  to 
women  working   overtime  more    than  i  hour 
after  6  p.  m  
Employment  for  7  days  a  week      .... 
Employment  of  women  under  21  years  of  age 
after  9  p.  m.           
Employment  of  women  21  years  and  over  after 
9  p.  m.  (before  law   was   declared  unconsti- 
tutional)    

51 
35 

25 

'1 

'7 

i 

Total    

152 

141 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

These  statistics  are  in  no  sense  a  measure  of 
conditions  in  the  trade.  They  are  merely  illustra- 
tions of  too  prevalent  a  practice  of  lengthening 
the  hours  of  work  in  binderies.  A  fuller  dis- 
cussion of  the  girls'  reports  of  overtime,  both  legal 
and  illegal,  will  make  the  situation  clearer. 

Some  of  their  159  reports  of  overtime  showed 
comparatively  early  closing  hours,  which  were  not 
violations  of  law  (and  did  not  appear  in  Table  28). 
In  21  per  cent  of  the  159  cases  the  girls  were  not 
kept  later  than  7  o'clock,  and  in  16  per  cent  they 
left  the  bindery  between  8  and  9.  In  44  per  cent 
they  stayed  until  9  and  in  19  per  cent,  almost  one 
in  every  five,  they  worked  until  later  at  night. 
Several  flagrant  cases  were  included  in  this  last 
group;  one  reported  work  until  12:30  a.  m.,  three 
until  i  in  the  morning,  two  until  3  o'clock,  one 
until  5:30,  one  until  8  and  one  until  9  the  next 
morning.  In  every  one  of  these  cases  the  girl  had 
gone  to  work  in  the  morning  and  worked  through- 
out the  day  and  evening  until  after  midnight. 

For  a  girl  to  leave  a  bindery  at  such  late  hours 
as  are  here  indicated,  and  go  home  alone  through 
the  streets,  is  obviously  dangerous.  The  fact  that 
the  law  permits  women  of  twenty-one  or  over 
to  work  after  9  p.  m.  also  makes  a  loop-hole  for 
employing  younger  girls  until  late  at  night.  One 
of  the  girls  whose  record  appears  in  these  state- 
ments was  employed  at  the  age  of  seventeen  to 
stitch  programs  for  opera  houses  and  theaters. 


142 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

During  the  theater  season  she  worked  overtime 
until  ii  or  12  o'clock  at  night,  a  day  of  fourteen 
and  a  half  hours.  She  walked  home  alone,  past 
the  closed  business  houses  downtown.  "Only 
bums  are  down  there  at  that  hour  of  the  night/' 
she  said. 

Another  girl  of  the  same  age  was  employed 
a  year  and  a  half  in  a  pamphlet  and  maga- 
zine bindery  "knocking  up."  She  frequently 
worked  overtime  Saturday  night,  sometimes  stay- 
ing until  2,  3,  or  4  o'clock  Sunday  morning.  Her 
home  was  in  one  of  the  worst  sections  of  Fourteenth 
Street.  She  was  laid  off  in  March  and  had  great 
difficulty  in  securing  any  other  position.  A  few 
weeks  later  she  disappeared  and  no  one  in  her 
family  knew  where  she  had  gone.  Whether  her 
employment  at  night  and  her  walks  along  Four- 
teenth Street  at  2  or  3  a.  m.  were  the  direct  cause 
of  her  disappearance  cannot  be  proved.  But 
the  danger  of  adding  such  influences  to  those 
which  already  surround  young  girls  in  a  city  like 
New  York  needs  no  proof. 

The  total  hours  daily  in  all  reports  of  overtime 
showed  as  wide  a  range  as  did  the  statements 
about  closing  hours.  In  9  per  cent  of  139  cases 
in  which  the  daily  working  hours  were  fully 
reported,  the  maximum  day  when  working  over- 
time did  not  exceed  ten  hours,  in  14  per  cent  it  was 
between  ten  and  eleven  hours,  and  in  29  per  cent 
it  was  between  eleven  and  twelve  hours  in  length, 


143 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

exclusive  of  meal  time.  Twelve-hour  days  ap- 
peared in  23  per  cent  of  the  reports,  while  in  25 
per  cent  the  overtime  day  was  longer  than  twelve 
hours. 

The  detailed  reports  of  working  days  longer  than 
twelve  hours  show  appalling  conditions.  These 
hours  represent  actual  working  time,  after  deduct- 
ing the  length  of  noon  recess  and  the  time  allowed 
for  supper.  In  four  positions  the  day  was  12^ 
hours  long;  in  seven,  12^2  hours;  in  three,  12^;  in 
nine,  13;  in  one,  13^;  in  two,  14;  in  two,  15^; 
in  two,  16;  in  two,  18;  in  one,  19^;  in  one,  2i>^; 
and  in  one,  22  hours.  The  United  States  gov- 
ernment investigators,  whose  report  has  been 
quoted,*  found  an  even  more  alarming  example  of 
overwork  of  a  girl  in  a  bindery, — a  working  "day" 
of  24^  hours. 

The  occurrence  of  these  long  days  is,  of  course, 
not  consecutive  or  continuous.  That  would  be 
unendurable.  For  example,  magazine  binderies 
are  notorious  for  the  great  irregularity  in  the  length 
of  successive  days.  The  working  week  of  a  girl 
employed  in  one  of  them  is  shown  in  Chart 
V.  The  normal  day  is  nine  hours,  but  only 
one  in  this  week  was  of  that  length.  The 
other  days  varied  from  four  to  fifteen  working 
hours.  After  fifteen  hours  of  work  on  Thursday 
and  fourteen  on  Friday,  it  requires  no  argument  to 
prove  that  a  short  day  of  four  hours  on  Saturday 

*  See  page  2. 


144 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

even  followed  by  rest  on  Sunday  does  not  com- 
pensate for  the  intense  physical  strain  endured  on 
those  two  days.  Thus,  even  though  the  working 
week  was  only  two  and  a  half  hours  longer  than  the 
law  allows,  within  that  time  an  exhausting  period 
of  labor  was  possible.  A  tabulation  of  the  weekly 
hours,  however,  indicated  also  excessive  overwork 
in  many  positions.  Not  all  the  reports  of  over- 
time gave  all  the  information  necessary  for  de- 
termining the  length  of  the  working  week. 

The  weekly  hours  were  within  the  legal  limit, 
sixty  hours  or  less,  in  46  cases,  and  exceeded  it  in 


Hours  Monday      Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday     Friday 
24  ' 


Saturday 


CHART  V. — DAILY  HOURS  OF  LABOR  IN  A  ONE  WEEK  PERIOD,  IN  A 
PAMPHLET  BINDERY 

51.    The  details  of  the  group  working  70  to  80 
hours  showed  70  hours  in  three  cases,  71  in  two, 
10  145 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

72  in  one,  72  X  in  one,  75^  in  one,  78  in  two,  and 
80  in  one.  To  realize  fully  how  great  a  menace 
such  overwork  is  to  the  health  of  bindery  girls, 
it  is  necessary  to  emphasize  the  nature  of  their 
tasks,  the  conditions  under  which  they  work,  the 
possible  danger  of  accidents,  and  the  more  com- 
mon danger  of  fatigue  to  which  many  of  the  work- 
ers bore  witness. 

Liability  to  accidents  increases  with  overwork, 
and  must  be  considered  in  relation  to  the  legal 
regulation  of  the  working  day.  Injuries  to  the 
hands  or  fingers  seem  to  be  more  frequent  than 
fatal  accidents  among  bindery  women.  The 
worker  usually  suffers  loss  of  time  as  a  result;  in 
some  cases  a  change  of  occupation  is  necessary. 
A  girl  who  worked  in  the  trade  fourteen  years, 
said  that  she  had  never  tried  to  operate  a  machine. 
"They're  too  dangerous,  and  if  you  lose  your  finger 
the  boss  ain't  goin'  to  do  anything  for  you.  I've 
seen  girls  get  the  ends  of  their  fingers  cut  off  by 
the  machine."  "We  work  on  machines  at  our 
own  risk,"  said  the  feeder  of  a  folding  machine. 
"On  the  point  folding  machine  the  girls  have  to 
put  their  hands  under  the  knife  and  draw  them 
back  before  the  knife  comes  down."  One  girl, 
sixteen  years  old,  was  employed  to  operate  the 
wire-stitching  machine  in  a  magazine  bindery. 
She  wire-stitched  her  finger  one  Sunday  morning 
early  when  she  had  been  working  steadily  since 
Saturday  at  8:30  a.  m.  One  girl  had  her  finger 
caught  by  the  descending  knife  of  a  cutting  ma- 

146 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

chine  from  which  she  was  taking  the  magazines. 
She  fainted  and  was  taken  to  a  hospital.  She 
reported  every  day  at  the  bindery  for  three  weeks 
and  was  paid  full  wages  ($7.00  a  week)  but  did 
very  little  work  except  running  errands.  After 
three  weeks,  the  finger  was  better,  but  she  was  so 
unnerved  that  she  could  not  work  near  the  ma- 
chines. She  folded  sheets  by  hand,  but  her  in- 
jury hindered  her  in  the  work,  and  prevented 
her  earning  more  than  $4.00  a  week.  Another 
girl  lost  the  forefinger  of  her  right  hand  while 
operating  an  indexing  machine  in  a  blankbook 
bindery.  At  that  time  she  was  earning  $5.00 
a  week.  The  company  did  not  reimburse  her 
loss,  although  she  had  to  begin  again  as  a  learner 
and  practice  other  processes  in  which  the  loss  of 
the  finger  would  not  be  a  hindrance.  "Any  ma- 
chine is  dangerous  if  you  don't  watch  it  carefully," 
said  another  girl.  Over  the  entrance  to  the  work- 
room of  a  magazine  bindery  is  a  sign  which  reads: 

"DANGER.    All  persons  are  warned  to  use  care 

when  around  machines  and  promptly  to 

report  any  defects." 

The  fatigue  caused  by  prolonged  periods  of  work 
is  greatly  increased  when  the  workroom  is  dark, 
dusty,  or  badly  ventilated.  Great  variety  char- 
acterizes conditions  in  the  workrooms  of  New  York 
binderies.  Girls  have  been  found  stitching  a 
magazine  "devoted  to  the  interests  of  health,"  in 
a  cellar  workroom  entirely  below  street  level, 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

lighted  by  gas.  Others  have  been  found  at  work 
in  large  lofts  of  high  buildings,  where  ventilation 
and  light  were  excellent.  In  some  binderies'  a 
modern  passenger  elevator  carries  one  to  the  work- 
room; in  others  one  must  choose  between  long 
flights  of  dark  and  dusty  wooden  stairs  and  the 
slow  freight  "hoist"  with  its  sign,  "All  persons 
riding  in  this  elevator  do  so  at  their  own  risk." 
Overcrowding,  insufficient  lighting,  and  lack  of 
proper  ventilation  endanger  the  workers'  health 
in  too  many  binderies.  Books  piled  high  cut  off 
light  and  air.  The  seats  provided  often  lack  backs 
or  foot-rests,  and  in  many  processes  constant 
standing  is  the  custom. 

The  story  of  a  bookbinder  who  is  now  too  ill  to 
work  will  illustrate  the  danger  to  which  many  of 
her  fellow- workers  are  exposed,  through  bad  work- 
room conditions,  combined  with  the  breaking  down 
of  physical  resistance  by  heavy  tasks  and  long 
hours.  A  board  of  health  physician  found  this 
girl  tubercular,  and  through  the  activity  of  a  re- 
lief society  she  was  sent  to  a  sanatorium.  The 
girl's  home  and  the  place  where  she  had  been  em- 
ployed were  visited.  She  had  worked  five  years 
in  the  same  workroom.  Before  that,  illness  had 
forced  her  to  leave  her  previous  position,  which 
she  had  held  also  for  five  years.  In  this  first  posi- 
tion, she  had  frequently  worked  overtime  in  win- 
ter three  nights  a  week  until  9  p.  m.,  a  day  of 
twelve  and  a  half  hours.  To  save  carfare  she  had 
walked  to  and  from  the  bindery.  "I'd  walk 

148 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

home,"  she  said,  "and  mamma 'd  be  out  nursing 
and  I'd  be  too  tired  to  get  any  supper;  that's  how 
I  got  run  down."  She  was  ill  three  months.  A 
physician  then  said  that  her  lungs  were  sound, 
but  that  care  would  be  necessary  to  keep  them  so. 

In  the  bindery  where  she  was  at  work  when  she 
became  ill  with  tuberculosis  she  had  stood  all  day 
during  the  first  year,  examining  and  wrapping 
heavy  bound  volumes  for  a  wage  of  $4.00  to  $5.00 
a  week.  After  that  she  learned  to  collate  the 
sheets  of  the  books,  and  sat  at  work.  The  paper 
was  heavy.  It  "tired"  her  chest  and  back  to  hold 
the  sheets  while  collating.  Although  she  was  a 
week  worker  "it  was  necessary  to  rush  because  I 
had  to  keep  the  sewer,  who  was  on  piece  work, 
supplied.  If  I  didn't  collate  fast  enough  she'd 
complain  to  the  forewoman  that  she  couldn't 
make  out." 

To  conditions  in  this  workroom  she  attributed 
her  illness  from  tuberculosis.  Other  cases  had 
developed  in  the  same  bindery.  The  books  were 
not  always  bound  immediately.  After  they  had 
been  gathered  they  were  sometimes  stacked  for 
months,  and  the  collators  were  the  first  ones 
to  handle  them  while  they  were  covered  with  ac- 
cumulated dust.  The  workroom  was  not  kept 
clean,  and  the  floor  was  swept  while  the  girls  were 
at  work.  In  response  to  a  complaint  the  Labor 
Department  sent  a  ventilation  expert  to  investigate 
the  bindery,  and  the  results  of  the  inspection  were 
reported  in  these  words : 

149 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

"He  found  the  air  openings  in  the  windows  too 
small  for  proper  ventilation  and  ordered  them  to 
be  enlarged.  The  air  test  showed  12  to  14  parts 
carbonic  anhydride  in  10,000  volumes,  which  is 
above  the  legal  limit.  The  water  closets  were 
found  clean.  The  fourth  floor  workroom  (wom- 
en's department)  was  found  blocked  with  accumu- 
lated stock  which  was  covered  with  dust.  Orders 
were  given  to  cover  the  stock  and  wet-cleanse  the 
floor  every  day." 

This  girl's  home  was  immaculately  clean,  and 
her  mother  a  careful  housekeeper.  But  good  care 
at  home  could  not  prevent  the  undermining  of 
health  in  ten  years  of  bindery  work  beginning  with 
long  daily  hours,  a  walk  home  late  on  cold  winter 
nights,  a  deferred  supper  or  none  at  all  because  she 
was  "too  tired  to  eat,"  a  heavy  cold,  and  then  five 
years  of  exhausting  work  in  a  bindery  where  the 
dust  was  allowed  to  accumulate  and  was  then  stirred 
up  by  handling  sheets  of  paper  or  sweeping  while 
the  workers  were  in  the  bindery.  Yet  no  factor  in 
this  bindery  girl's  history  is  unique,  except  her 
unusually  comfortable  home. 

A  witness  of  the  processes  of  work  in  bookbin- 
deries  would  require  no  medical  proof  of  two  chief 
dangers  to  which  bindery  women  are  exposed,  the 
danger  from  the  accumulation  of  dust  on  paper, 
and  the  danger  of  fatigue.  The  workers'  own 
statements  are  important  as  testimony  on  these 
points. 

"She  was  all  worn  out  and  she  got  so  thin  there 
150 


A  CROWDED  WORKROOM 


ACCUMULATED  STOCK  GATHERING  DUST 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

wasn't  anything  to  her/'  said  the  mother  of  a  girl 
who  for  three  years  had  worked  all  night  two  or 
three  times  a  week  in  the  winter  months.  She 
began  in  the  morning  and  worked  until  5:30  a.  m. 
the  following  day.  "Then  she  was  supposed  to 
rest  all  day  and  until  the  next  morning  at  8  when 
she  went  to  work  again,"  said  her  mother.  "  But 
she  got  so  tired  she  would  cry  all  morning  when 
she  came  home  and  she  couldn't  sleep  well.  The 
doctor  told  her  she'd  have  to  stop  night  work." 

In  a  certain  bindery  in  New  York  a  grocers'  cata- 
logue is  bound  every  Wednesday  evening.  In 
order  not  to  miss  tardy  advertisements  it  is  not 
brought  to  the  bindery  until  7  p.  m.  Two  women 
work  until  10  or  1 1  p.  m.  to  prepare  it  for  the  mail 
Thursday  morning.  After  that  hour,  one  of  them, 
twenty-three  years  old,  must  journey  an  hour  from 
Brooklyn  Bridge  before  reaching  home  uptown 
in  Manhattan.  Just  before  the  Fourth  of  July, 
1911,  in  a  record-breaking  hot  spell  this  girl  was 
overcome  by  the  heat  at  night  in  the  bindery. 
She  was  dizzy  and  nauseated,  and  "could  hardly 
hold  her  head  up,"  but  the  grocers'  catalogue  must 
be  wire-stitched  and  she  could  not  stop  work  until 
the  order  was  finished.  She  was  ill  for  two  weeks 
afterwards,  receiving  no  wages  for  the  time  lost, 
but  the  catalogue  was  mailed  in  time,  and  thus  the 
firm  did  not  lose  the  contract  for  binding  it. 

But  aside  from  the  fatigue  caused  by  working 
such  long  hours,  the  processes  in  themselves  are 
hard,  even  under  the  best  conditions.  "Gather- 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

ing  is  very  heavy,"  said  a  bindery  girl  in  New  York 
City.  "I'm  always  thin.  I  never  can  pick  up." 
One  girl  wears  gloves  while  inserting  the  large 
sheets  of  a  magazine  one  within  another,  to  pre- 
vent the  swelling  of  her  hands  and  wrists.  Another 
bandages  her  wrists.  "The  work  wears  you  out 
after  awhile,"  she  said.  Both  these  girls  stand  at 
work  all  day.  "  Bindery  work  is  very  hard  work," 
said  another.  "  When  you  get  your  wages,  you've 
earned  every  cent.  When  the  girls  get  home 
they're  too  tired  to  do  anything."  "  I  don't  like 
bookbinding,"  said  a  learner  who  had  been  em- 
ployed a  year  in  the  trade.  "They're  getting 
machines  for  everything.  I  was  on  a  machine, 
gathering,  and  every  once  in  a  while  I'd  be  so  tired 
I'd  have  to  stay  home  a  day.  Knocking  up  is 
tiresome  too."  A  girl  seventeen  years  old  who 
had  charge  of  four  folding  machines  said  that  tend- 
ing them  made  her  so  nervous  that  she  frequently 
cried  from  fatigue  when  she  reached  home  at 
night.  "No  girl  should  go  into  bookbinding  un- 
less she  is  very  strong,"  said  another.  A  young 
learner  emptied  the  boxes  into  which  the  large 
folding  machine  delivers  the  folded  sheets.  The 
work  was  so  heavy  that  she  broke  down  and  was 
idle  three  months.  "They  ought  to  have  boys  to 
do  that  work,"  she  said. 

An  examiner  and  wrapper  who  handled  the  com- 
pleted volumes,  often  heavy,  asserted  that  the 
rapid  turning  of  the  pages  of  the  books  tired  her 
eyes  very  quickly.  "At  first,"  she  said,  "I  used 

152 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

to  see  the  pages  moving  in  my  sleep."  She  stood 
at  work  and  seldom  had  a  chance  to  sit  down. 
"We  fairly  had  to  swipe  our  chairs.  If  we  sat 
down  long  they'd  give  us  a  look,  as  much  as  to 
say,  '  It's  time  you  stood  up."  Another  girl,  who 
stood  always  while  doing  this  work,  left  because  of 
illness;  she  said  that  it  was  due  to  standing  and  to 
holding  the  heavy  volumes.  Her  two  sisters  had 
been  bindery  girls.  Their  father  objected  to  their 
working  in  this  trade.  "He  can't  be  havin'  us 
work  in  binderies,  and  then  be  havin'  to  pay  doc- 
tor's bills." 

A  girl  who  was  employed  more  than  four  years 
in  the  gold  laying  department  of  an  edition  bindery 
was  obliged  to  leave  the  trade  because  of  illness. 
Air,  circulating  freely,  might  blow  the  gold  leaf. 
Lack  of  ventilation  caused  her  to  faint  and  have 
nausea.  Another  gold  layer  said  that  it  was 
impossible  to  ventilate  the  room,  and  that  in 
summer  it  was  almost  unendurable.  Others  com- 
plained, also,  of  eye-strain.  "The  gold  has  a 
glare,"  said  one  of  them. 

"  I  would  never  advise  a  girl  to  take  up  number- 
ing," said  an  operator  of  a  numbering  machine, 
which  is  run  by  a  foot-pedal,  pressed  eight  or  ten 
thousand  times  a  day.  "  I  know  a  lot  of  girls 
that  have  had  to  have  operations  because  of  it." 
In  a  blankbook  bindery,  a  girl  who  does  general 
work  complains  of  severe  pains  in  her  side,  due  to 
the  constant  pressure  of  the  foot  on  the  pedal  of  a 
perforating  machine.  Usually  she  does  a  few 

153 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

hours'  work  a  day  on  this  machine,  and  then  turns 
to  other  work,  but  recently  the  firm  had  a  large 
order  which  lasted  nearly  four  weeks,  and  the 
machine  was  running  constantly,  one  girl  taking  it 
the  moment  another  stopped  operating  it.  The 
bulk  of  this  work  falls  to  her  share  because  she 
operates  the  machine  more  carefully  than  the 
others.  The  visitor's  report  of  her  interview 
reads:  "Katie  looks  worn  out  and  is  discouraged 
because  she  doesn't  get  more  than  $7.00  for  the 
hard  work  she  is  doing.  She  was  busy  washing 
the  supper  dishes  (8 120  p.m.).  Her  younger  sister 
was  dressing  to  go  to  a  wedding.  Katie  said  that 
she  used  to  go  to  dances  and  weddings  when  she 
was  young  but  she  is  too  tired  to  go  now.  She  is 
twenty-two  years  old." 

It  is  obvious  that  even  the  unskilled  work  of 
lifting  sheets  from  the  boxes  of  machines  or  carry- 
ing books  from  one  part  of  the  workroom  to  another 
is  exhausting,  especially  if  the  working  hours  be 
long.  Doubtless  it  was  dislike  of  this  heavy  work 
which  led  the  London  Societies  of  Journeymen 
Bookbinders,  in  an  agreement  in  which  the  women 
workers  were  not  represented  or  consulted,  to 
declare  that  "they  will  not  make  it  a  grievance 
if,"  in  addition  to  a  few  other  processes,  "female 
or  unskilled  labour  is  placed  upon  the  carrying  of 
loads  of  work  about  the  work  shop."* 

*  MacDonald,  J.  Ramsay:  Women  in  the  Printing  Trades,  p.  8. 
London,  King,  1904. 


154 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

" Physical  effort,"  writes  Dr.  Oliver,*  "and  the 
lifting  and  carrying  of  heavy  weights  not  only  im- 
press themselves  upon  the  muscles  and  nervous 
system,  but  upon  all  parts  of  the  body,  particu- 
larly the  bones  in  early  adolescence  and  the  period 
of  growth.  ...  If  standing  all  day  when  at 
work  in  an  overheated  factory  causes  tiredness  of 
the  muscles  and  also  varicose  veins,  prolonged 
sitting  may  be  just  as  harmful,  for  the  lumbar 
region  of  the  spinal  column  becomes  bent,  the 
movements  of  the  abdominal  viscera  are  interfered 
with,  the  lower  ribs  are  compressed,  and  since 
deep  inspiration  is  hardly  possible  the  lungs  are 
badly  ventilated  and  the  aeration  of  the  blood  is 
imperfect."  It  follows  that  specialization  in  proc- 
esses, which  compels  a  worker  to  maintain  one 
position  throughout  the  working  day,  should  be 
listed  among  the  occupational  dangers.  This  dan- 
ger exists  in  binderies,  and  is  multiplied  as  the 
hours  of  labor  are  prolonged. 

An  increasing  number  of  experiments  to  deter- 
mine the  nature  of  fatigue  are  supplying  scientific 
proof  of  the  need  for  labor  legislation.!  "  Fatigue 
or  tiredness,"  writes  Dr.  Oliver, J  "is  a  sensation, 
the  outcome  of  a  particular  state  of  the  nervous 
system,  the  result  of  work  carried  beyond  the 
capabilities  of  the  organism.  In  ordinary  physio- 

*Oliver,  Thomas,  M.D.:  Diseases  of  Occupation,  p.  n.  New 
York,  Dutton,  1908. 

fGoIdmark,  Josephine:  Fatigue  and  Efficiency.  Russell  Sage  Foun- 
dation Publication.  New  York,  Charities  Publication  Committee,  1912. 

t  Oliver,  op.  cit.,  pp.  6,  9. 

'55 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

logical  activity  exhaustion  is  never  attained,  for 
fatigue  is  the  warning  signal.  .  .  .  The  waste 
products  added  to  the  blood  act  upon  the  nerve 
endings  in  muscle  and  upon  the  grey  matter  of  the 
brain,  and  create  a  sense  of  fatigue.  .  .  and 
on  the  other  hand  they  poison  the  large  nerve  cells 
in  the  grey  matter  of  the  brain,  render  them  less 
receptive  of  sensory  stimuli,  and  in  this  way  re- 
duce their  power  of  emitting  volitional  impulses. 
There  is,  therefore,  in  fatigue  an  element  that  is 
mental  as  well  as  physical.  After  rest  and  sleep 
the  sensation  of  fatigue  wears  off,  and  we  rise  invigo- 
rated and  strengthened  for  work.  During  repose, 
structure  is  being  rebuilt  and  waste  products  are 
eliminated.  .  .  .  One  of  the  important  fea- 
tures of  overwork,  calling  for  notice,  is  the  manner 
in  which  fatigue  is  repaired.  It  is  a  question  of 
length  of  time." 

It  is  evident  that  fatigue  is  not  the  result  of  a 
particular  process  of  work,  but  a  sign  of  overwork 
in  any  occupation.  The  time  element  is  the  de- 
cisive factor  in  its  cause;  it  is  also  the  decisive 
factor  in  recovery.  Of  course,  the  length  of  time 
necessary  to  induce  fatigue  varies  with  the  nature 
of  the  work,  and  the  individual  power  of  endurance. 
But  that  time  alone  can  cure  fatigue,  and  that  ex- 
haustion may  be  the  result  of  ignoring  it  are  facts 
which  the  scientists  have  proved  applicable  to 
every  worker  in  every  occupation.  It  is  the  pur- 
pose of  labor  laws  to  protect  the  health  of  workers 
against  the  poisonous  effects  of  fatigue.  How  in- 

156 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

adequate  is  the  protection  extended  to  bindery 
women  in  New  York  is  clear,  and  suggests  a  dis- 
cussion of  the  law. 

In  1886,  the  legislature  of  New  York  state  passed 
its  first  factory  law,  entitled  "An  act  to  regulate 
the  employment  of  women  and  children  in  manu- 
facturing establishments,  and  to  provide  for  the 
appointment  of  inspectors  to  enforce  the  same." 
According  to  this  law  no  woman  under  twenty-one 
might  be  employed  more  than  sixty  hours  in  any 
one  week,  "unless  for  the  purpose  of  making  neces- 
sary repairs."  It  prohibited  the  employment  of 
any  child  under  the  age  of  thirteen  years.  Only 
one  inspector  and  one  assistant  were  appointed  to 
enforce  it.  In  1889,  the  daily  working  hours  of 
women  under  twenty-one  years  were  limited  to 
ten,  but  an  "exception"  clause  permitted  longer 
days  for  the  purpose  of  shortening  the  hours  of 
work  on  Saturday.  In  the  same  year  night  work 
of  women  under  twenty-one  years  was  prohibited 
between  the  hours  of  9  p.  m.  and  6  a.  m.  In  1899, 
by  a  single  act,  the  provisions  of  the  law  were 
extended  to  all  women  irrespective  of  age. 

Judging  by  the  number  of  prosecutions,  lax  en- 
forcement has  characterized  the  history  of  the  law. 
In  the  six  years  preceding  1906,  there  were  only 
four  prosecutions  in  New  York  state  either  for 
employing  women  more  than  sixty  hours  in  a  week 
or  for  employing  them  after  9  p.  m.  in  any  factory. 
Only  one  employer  was  convicted  and  fined  in 
that  period.  One  was  acquitted.  Two  were  con- 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

victed  and  sentence  suspended.  Yet  violations  were 
known  to  the  commissioner  of  labor,  for  he  wrote 
in  his  report  of  1902,* 

"Reference  to  the  tables  of  orders,  complaints,  and 
prosecutions  will  show  that  the  principal  source  of 
trouble  is  the  tendency  on  the  part  of  factory  managers 
to  exact  longer  hours  than  the  legal  maximum  for 
women  and  minors,  and  to  employ  children  without 
filing  the  required  certificate  of  age,  school  attendance 
and  physical  fitness/' 

The  year  1906  was  characterized  by  a  sudden 
burst  of  activity  with  more  than  three  times  as 
many  prosecutions  begun  as  in  the  preceding  five 
years.  Six  employers  in  the  bookbinding  trade 
were  arrested  for  employing  women  after  9  p.  m. 
Seven  other  prosecutions  were  begun  for  employ- 
ing women  more  than  sixty  hours  in  a  week.f  This 
activity  resulted  in  court  decisions  in  two  cases  in 
the  same  year,  in  one  of  which  the  prohibition  of 
night  work  was  declared  unconstitutional,  while  in 
the  other  the  sixty-hour  law  was  held  to  be  a  legiti- 
mate exercise  of  the  police  power  of  the  state.! 

*  Second  Annual  Report  of  the  Department  of  Labor  of  the 
State  of  New  York,  1902.  Vol.  I.  Pt.  III.  Report  of  the  Bureau 
of  Factory  Inspection,  p.  24. 

t  New  York  State  Department  of  Labor,  Factory  Inspection,  1906. 
Part  II,  p.  210. 

{The  case  of  one  Mary  Seeback's  employment  in  a  laundry  more 
than  sixty  hours  in  a  week  never  passed  beyond  the  court  of  special 
sessions,  which  declared  that  "a  law  which  attempts  to  limit  the  num- 
ber of  hours  of  labor  of  a  woman  employed  in  a  factory,  may  well  be  a 
health  regulation  and  a  proper  legislative  exercise  of  the  state's  police 
power."  New  York  State  Department  of  Labor,  Bulletin  No.  31, 
December,  1906,  p.  484.  For  court  decision,  People  v.  Howe,  Court 
of  Special  Sessions,  see  Appendix  C,  pp.  256-258. 

I58 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

The  case  regarding  the  prohibition  of  night  work, 
now  wellknown  as  the  People  v.  Williams,  is  of 
direct  interest  in  a  study  of  the  bookbinding  trade. 
The  opening  paragraphs  of  the  judges'  decision 
give  the  setting. 

"At  twenty  minutes  after  ten  o'clock  on  the  night  of 
January  31,  1906,  a  deputy  factory  inspector  visited 
the  bookbinding  establishment  of  the  defendant,  No. 
437  Eleventh  Avenue,  in  the  County  of  New  York,  and 
there  found  one  Katie  Mead,  a  female  more  than  twenty- 
one  years  of  age,  and  a  citizen,  employed  in  'gathering/ 
to  wit,  assembling  printed  papers  in  the  form  of  a  book 
or  pamphlet  for  binding  purposes.  The  defendant,  one 
of  the  proprietors  of  the  establishment,  was  present  and 
in  charge  of  the  work  and  the  employes,  and  among 
them  were  several  other  women.  There  is  no  pretext 
that  the  building  was  insecure,  the  light  bad,  ventila- 
tion defective,  or  the  general  sanitary  condition  defi- 
cient. In  these  respects,  the  deputy  testified,  'It  is 
the  best  factory  of  the  kind  in  New  York  City/ 

"The  information  upon  which  the  defendant  was 
tried  and  convicted  charges  a  misdemeanor  under  sec- 
tion 77,  article  6,  entitled  '  Factories/  of  the  General 
Laws  Relating  to  Labor,  in  that  he  employed,  permitted 
and  suffered  the  said  Katie  Mead  to  work  in  that  factory 
after  nine  o'clock  at  night  on  the  date  specified/'* 

Katie  Mead,  on  the  night  of  January  31,  1906, 
was  not  only  a  bindery  hand.  She  was  a  represen- 
tative of  all  the  women  employed  in  factories  in 

*  New  York  State  Department  of  Labor,  Bulletin  No.  30,  Sep- 
tember, 1906,  p.  340  ff.  People  v.  Williams,  Court  of  Special  Sessions. 

'59 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

New  York  state.  The  work  that  she  did  in  the 
bindery  that  night  after  9  o'clock  resulted  in  "the 
first  judicial  construction  thus  far  made  in  the 
United  States  of  a  statute  prohibiting  the  em- 
ployment of  women  in  factories  at  night/'* 
Three  courts,  in  succession,  declared  the  prohibi- 
tion unconstitutional,  and,  as  a  result  of  their  de- 
cision, Katie  Mead  and  all  other  adult  women  in 
binderies  or  in  any  other  factories  of  New  York 
state  may  be  "employed,  permitted  and  suffered" 
to  work  throughout  the  night. 

The  reasoning  of  the  courts  is  somewhat  in- 
volved, but  the  importance  of  the  decision  in  the 
history  of  factory  laws  in  New  York,  and  its  im- 
mediate bearing  on  their  present  enforcement, 
makes  full  discussion  of  it  desirable.  The  court 
declared  that  the  issue  was  not  the  limitation  of 
the  working  hours  in  a  day  or  a  week.  "How 
long  the  woman  worked  on  the  day  in  question, 
how  long  she  worked  that  week,  or  how  many 
hours  of  labor  she  had  contracted  to  perform  on 
the  night  she  was  found  working  in  the  factory— 
none  of  these  things  appear.  The  sole  fact  before 
us  is  that  a  woman  was  employed  in  factory  work 
for  a  few  minutes  during  hours  when  the  statute 
declares  it  was  unlawful  to  so  employ  her."  The 
justice  believed  that  one  of  women's  rights 
certainly  was 

"  the  right  to  contract  for  her  labor  and  to  work  when 
and  where  she  pleased  without  reference  to  the  position 

*  Ibid.,  p.  336  if. 
1 60 


MIDNIGHT  IN  A  MAGAZINE   BINDERY 


THE  MIDNIGHT  LUNCH  HOUR 


OVERTIME   AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

of  the  hands  upon  the  dial  of  the  clock.  .  .  .  There 
is  nothing  in  the  prohibition  of  the  section  in  question 
which  indicates  that  its  object  is  to  promote  the  health 
or  the  public  welfare.  Had  the  statute  been  so  framed 
as  to  provide  that  none  of  the  employment  of  women 
for  sixty  hours  a  week  or  ten  hours  a  day  should  be  be- 
tween 9  p.  m.  and  6  a.  m.,  or  had  it  provided  that  women 
might  work  only  a  limited  time  after  9  o'clock  p.  m. 
and  before  6  o'clock  a.  m.,  if  she  was  employed  during 
other  hours  of  the  day,  its  object  as  a  health  regulation 
might  be  apparent.  When,  however,  it  is  so  drawn  as 
to  prevent  an  adult  citizen  from  exercising  her  right  to 
contract  for  employment,  even  for  so  limited  a  period 
as  one  hour  during  the  prohibited  time,  it  cannot  prop- 
erly be  considered  a  health  regulation." 

The  appellate  division  of  the  Supreme  Court 
affirmed  this  decision  but  their  vote  was  divided, 
two  of  the  five  justices  dissenting.*  Justice  Scott, 
writing  the  majority  opinion,  declared  that 

"the  opinion  delivered  by  the  learned  justice  who  wrote 
for  the  Court  of  Special  Sessions  discusses  the  constitu- 
tional infirmity  of  that  clause  of  the  statute  upon  which 
the  prosecution  is  based  so  satisfactorily  that  we  adopt 
it  as  the  opinion  of  this  Court.  .  .  .  The  provision 
under  examination  is  aimed  solely  against  work  at 
night,  without  regard  to  the  length  of  time  during  which 
work  is  performed,  or  the  conditions  under  which  it  is 
carried  on,  and  in  order  to  sustain  the  reasonableness  of 
the  provision,  we  must  find  that,  owing  to  some  physical 
or  nervous  difference,  it  is  more  harmful  for  a  woman 

*  New  York  State  Department  of  Labor,  Bulletin  No.  31, 
December,  1906,  p.  478  ff.  People  v.  Williams,  115  App.  Div. 

ii  161 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

work  at  night  in  binderies  means  too  often  per- 
mission to  prolong  the  day's  labor.  Few  binderies 
(not  more  than  two  or  three)  have  regular  night 
shifts  for  women,  who  begin  work  in  the  evening 
without  having  worked  during  the  day.  In  a  far 
greater  number,  girls  who  work  during  the  day 
stay  on  through  the  night  hours.  Probably  Katie 
Mead  had  been  working  since  8  a.  m.,  although 
the  evidence  presented  to  the  court  showed  only 
the  single  fact  that  she  was  found  at  work  at  10:20 
p.  m.  without  regard  to  the  length  of  employment 
preceding  that  moment.  Some  of  the  actual  in- 
stances of  overtime  work  cited  in  this  chapter 
demonstrate  that  the  prescribing  of  a  definite  rest 
period  during  definite  hours  of  the  night  is  essential 
to  prevent  the  joining  together  of  two  working 
days  at  the  stroke  of  midnight. 

That  the  long  periods  of  employment  resulting 
from  such  a  practice  have  disastrous  effects  on  the 
health  of  women  was  pointed  out  by  the  factory 
inspectors  of  New  York  in  their  annual  report  as 
long  ago  as  1887.*  "  Inquiry  among  those  females 
above  the  statutory  agef  who  worked  twelve  and 
fifteen  hours  a  day  in  printing  offices,  candy  fac- 
tories, woolen  mills,  and  other  manufacturing 
establishments/'  they  wrote  in  that  year,  "elicited 
the  information  that  the  women  who  labor  these 
long  hours  were  more  subject  to  fits  of  nervous 

*  Second  Annual  Report  of  the  Factory  Inspectors  of  the  State 
of  New  York,  1887,  p.  28. 

f  At  that  time  the  law  applied  only  to  women  under  twenty-one 
years  of  age. 

.64 


OVERTIME   AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

prostration  and  debility  than  those  who  worked 
the  normal  day  of  ten  hours  ;  and,  as  a  rule,  at 
the  end  of  a  year,  they  would  not  have  so  much 
working  time  to  their  credit  as  those  who  were 
not  so  overworked."  That  the  factory  inspectors 
recognized  the  connection  between  a  prohibition 
of  night  work  and  the  regulation  of  the  length  of 
the  working  day,  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  this 
statement  of  the  bad  effects  of  prolonged  periods 
of  employment  was  used  in  their  annual  report 
as  an  argument  in  favor  of  their  recommendation 
that  the  employment  of  any  woman,  adult  as 
well  as  minor,  after  9  p.  m.  be  prohibited. 

The  constitutionality  of  a  law  designed  to  pre- 
vent such  prolonged  periods  of  employment  by 
limiting  the  hours  of  work  of  women  to  ten  in  a 
day  was  clearly  affirmed  by  the  Supreme  Court  of 
the  United  States  in  1908  in  the  case  of  Muller  v. 
Oregon.  The  argument  for  the  law  rested  on  "the 
world's  experience  upon  which  the  legislation  lim- 
iting the  hours  of  labor  for  women  is  based,"  and 
counsel  pointed  out  that  no  court  can  ignore  facts 
of  common  knowledge,  when  deciding  whether  a 
statute  is  a  legitimate  exercise  of  the  police  power. 

"  The  danger  of  long  hours  for  women/'  wrote  the 
counsel  for  the  state  of  Oregon,  in  his  summary  of  the 
statements  of  authorities  in  many  nations,*  "  arises  from 
their  special  physical  organization  taken  in  connection 

*  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  October  Term,  1907,  No. 
107.  Curt  Muller,  Plaintiff  in  Error,  v.  State  of  Oregon.  Brief  for 
Defendant  in  Error,  Brandeis,  Louis  D.,  pp.  18,  24,  28. 

165 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

with  the  strain  incident  to  factory  and  similar  work. 
.  .  .  Such  being  their  physical  endowment,  women 
are  affected  to  a  far  greater  degree  than  men  by  the 
growing  strain  of  modern  industry.  Machinery  is  in- 
creasingly speeded  up,  the  number  of  machines  tended 
by  individual  workers  grows  larger,  processes  become 
more  and  more  complex  as  more  operations  are  per- 
formed simultaneously.  .  .  .  The  fatigue  which 
follows  long  hours  of  labor  becomes  chronic  and  results 
in  general  deterioration  of  health."  In  affirming  the 
constitutionality  of  the  statute,  the  court  said,*  "The 
two  sexes  differ  in  structure  of  body,  in  the  functions 
to  be  performed  by  each,  in  the  amount  of  physical 
strength,  in  the  capacity  for  long-continued  labor, 
particularly  when  done  standing,  the  influence  of  vigor- 
ous health  upon  the  future  well-being  of  the  race,  the 
self-reliance  which  enables  one  to  assert  full  rights,  and 
in  the  capacity  to  maintain  the  struggle  for  subsistence. 
This  difference  justifies  a  difference  in  legislation  and 
upholds  that  which  is  designed  to  compensate  for  some 
of  the  burdens  which  rest  upon  her/' 

As  progress  is  made  in  strengthening  legislation 
regulating  the  daily  hours,  it  is  to  be  hoped  that 
the  necessity  for  a  prohibition  of  night  work  will 
also  be  recognized  by  courts  and  legislatures.  In 
1906,  13  European  nations  recognized  this  need 
by  signing  an  international  treaty  which  did  not 
emphasize  the  idea  of  prohibition  of  employ- 
ment but  stated  the  situation  more  positively  by 

*  United  States  Reports,  Vol.  208.  Cases  adjudged  in  The  Su- 
preme Court  at  October  term,  1907.  Muller  Plaintiff  in  Error,  v. 
The  State  of  Oregon,  p.  422.  N.  Y.,  The  Banks  Law  Publishing 
Co.,  1908. 

166 


OVERTIME    AND  THE    FACTORY   LAWS 

providing  for  a  rest  period  each  night  for  women 
workers.  Nothing  in  the  New  York  decision  of 
1906  would  prevent  the  possibility  of  a  more  fav- 
orable interpretation  at  some  future  time  of  a  law 
technically  correct  in  drawing  and  supported  by 
evidence  showing  its  necessity  as  a  health  regu- 
lation. Such  a  decision  is  urgently  needed  to 
strengthen  the  New  York  restriction  on  the 
hours  of  work  of  women. 

The  constitutionality  of  the  law  regulating  the 
weekly  and  daily  hours  has  never  been  denied  in 
New  York  state,  and  the  way  is  open  for  a  better 
enforcement  of  this  law.  As  a  means  to  this  end 
it  is  of  urgent  importance  that  convictions  for 
violations  should  be  followed  by  the  imposition  of 
fines  in  the  magistrates'  courts.  Such  a  record  as 
that  of  1907  is  discouraging  to  factory  inspectors; 
in  that  year,  28  convictions  were  secured  for  viola- 
tions of  the  sixty-hour  weekly  law,  and  in  27  of 
these  cases  the  magistrates  suspended  sentence.* 
The  result  of  this  use  of  the  suspended  sentence, 
combined  with  a  misunderstanding  of  the  applica- 
tion of  the  court  decision  denying  the  constitu- 
tionality of  the  night-work  prohibition,  has  been 
to  give  a  wide  impression  that  the  statute  limiting 
the  daily  and  weekly  hours  of  labor  is  a  dead  letter. 
On  the  contrary,  an  increasing  number  of  court 
decisions  in  other  parts  of  the  country  are  in  agree- 
ment with  that  of  the  United  States  Supreme 

*  New  York  State  Department  of  Labor,  Annual  Report,  1907, 
Part  II,  p.  19. 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

Court  in  affirming  the  constitutionality  of  such 
legislation.  Indeed,  in  1906,  more  than  a  year 
before  the  Oregon  decision,  the  Court  of  Special 
Sessions*  in  New  York  declared  the  sixty-hour  law 
a  legitimate  exercise  of  the  state's  police  power  for 
the  protection  of  the  public  health.  An  aroused 
public  opinion  is  needed  now  to  give  life  to  the 
statute,  and  to  insure  more  adequate  protection  for 
women  in  factories. 

*New  York  State  Department  of  Labor,  Bulletin  No.  31,  De- 
cember, 1906,  p.  484.    People  v.  Howe.    See  Appendix C,  pp.  256-258. 


1 68 


CHAPTER  VII 

COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE 
BINDERY  TRADE 

THE  trade  union  movement  is  a  vigorous 
one  in  the  bookbinding  trade,  and  bindery 
women  in  New  York  are  active  in  it.  They 
have  formed  an  organization  composed  entirely 
of  women,  and  managed  by  their  elected  represen- 
tatives. Its  purpose  is  to  establish  uniform,  mini- 
mum standards  regarding  hours  and  wages,  and 
to  prevent  unfair  treatment  of  any  worker  in  a 
union  shop.  It  provides  machinery  for  collective 
bargaining  between  an  employer  and  his  workers, 
not  as  individuals  but  as  an  organized  group  con- 
trolled by  the  votes  of  its  members.  The  convic- 
tion behind  this  movement  is  that  under  present 
conditions  of  industry,  unless  there  be  a  definite 
form  of  organization  among  the  workers  no  indi- 
vidual protest  of  theirs  against  injustice  will  have 
any  influence. 

The  bookbinding  trade  affords  a  clear  illustra- 
tion of  the  difference  between  the  relation  of  the 
craftsman  to  his  customer,  and  that  of  the  obscure 
employe  in  a  large  establishment  to  the  president  of 
the  corporation  controlling  it.  It  is  still  possible 

169 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

to  find  a  bookbinder,  either  man  or  woman,  who 
works  alone  without  employes  and  sells  his  labor 
to  a  purchaser  without  the  intervention  of  an  em- 
ployer or  a  salesman.  But  while  the  craftsman 
still  holds  his  own,  arranges  his  hours  of  labor,  and 
bargains  approximately  as  an  equal  with  the  cus- 
tomer who  pays  him  for  his  services,  the  bindery 
girl  in  the  ordinary  workroom  represents  a  changed 
industrial  order.  Her  position  is  a  reminder  that 
since  the  days  of  Grolier,  or  Roger  Payne,  the 
forces  of  industrial  revolution  have  been  at  work 
relentlessly  and  inevitably,  changing  methods  in 
the  workroom,  enlarging  the  number  of  employes, 
splitting  up  their  tasks  into  minute  processes,  in- 
troducing mechanical  contrivances,  and  making 
each  worker  merely  a  humble  part  of  a  large  system. 
The  employer  who  formerly  bound  books  in  his 
own  workroom  has  given  place  to  the  corporation 
manager  whose  chief  duty  is  to  study  the  book 
market.  He  pays  no  more  attention  than  is  neces- 
sary to  the  control  of  labor  conditions.  This 
phase  of  the  business  is  handled  by  a  delegation  of 
authority  from  manager  to  superintendent,  from 
superintendent  to  foreman,  and  from  foreman 
to  forewoman.  Furthermore,  not  only  does  the 
worker  occupy  an  obscure  place  in  this  hier- 
archy of  industry,  but  the  bookbinding  trade 
itself  is  but  a  branch,  and  that  a  subordinate 
one,  of  the  publishing  business. 

The  position  of  the  worker  and  the  impossibility 
of  her  modifying  the  conditions  of  her  employment 

170 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

are  fairly  well  illustrated  by  the  following  descrip- 
tion written  by  an  investigator  who  secured  work 
in  a  bindery. 

"Reached  above  address  at  8:10  a.  m.  Large  red 
brick  building,  six  stories  high.  Office  on  first  floor. 
Group  of  girls,  applying  for  work,  stood  around  outside 
the  railing.  No  talking.  Several  looked  not  more 
than  sixteen  or  eighteen  years;  others  older.  Several 
came  in  after  I  did,  and  finally  all  together  we  num- 
bered 13. 

"A  young  girl  from  the  office  came  forward  and  in- 
quired, 'How  many  of  you  are  experienced  hands?' 
Nothing  was  said  by  the  crowd  but  quickly  there  was  a 
separation  of  the  wise  from  the  otherwise.  She  spoke 
a  word  or  two  to  several  and  then  told  them  to  go 
upstairs.  Five  or  six  went.  While  waiting,  I  had  taken 
advantage  of  vacant  space  and  was  next  in  order  to  the 
sheep.  Girl  looked  me  over. 

"'Are  you  experienced?' 

"'I  have  done  pasting,  though  not  exactly  this  kind/ 
"Go  upstairs/ 

"  I  climbed  the  three  or  four  flights  of  stairs  to  the 
fourth  floor  and  came  upon  the  group  which  had  pre- 
ceded me.  A  woman  was  speaking  to  one  of  them  at  a 
time.  The  girl  ahead  of  me  had  had  experience  as  a 
gatherer.  I  understood  that  she  was  sent  down  to 
work.  Then  came  my  turn. 
' '  You  have  been  here  before?' 

"'No/ 

"I  thought  I  had  seen  you  before.     In  what  are 
you  experienced?' 

" '  I  have  not  worked  in  a  bindery  before  but  I  have 
171 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

had  to  do  careful  filing  in  an  office  and  I  think  I  could 
do  gathering/ 

'Thinking  and  doing  are  very  different  things/ 

"She  spoke  a  word  to  one  of  the  foremen. 

"'You  can't  do  gathering/  he  said,  'tilj  you've  had 
experience/ 

' '  How  can  I  get  experience?' 

"  You'll  have  to  start  at  the  bottom  and  do  folding. 
It's  piece  work  and  girls  who  have  worked  at  it  can  earn 
§6.00  to  $9.00  a  week,  but  you  couldn't/ 

"'But  I  want  to  learn/ 

' '  Well,  you'll  have  to  come  at  your  own  risk.  Get  a 
bone  folder  and  be  here  at  8  tomorrow/  " 

In  such  a  case  the  girl  may  accept  or  refuse  what 
is  offered;  she  cannot  modify  the  conditions.  It  is 
useless  for  an  applicant  for  work  to  ask  an  em- 
ployer of  200  women  to  bargain  with  her  individu- 
ally regarding  hours  of  labor,  the  lighting  of  the 
workroom,  or  the  position  of  the  fire-escapes. 
Nor  is  a  protest  against  too  low  wages  likely  to 
have  any  influence  unless  the  employer  is  hard 
pressed  for  a  worker  in  some  particular  process. 

Even  a  group  of  girls  in  the  workroom  cannot 
successfully  make  demands  regarding  conditions 
of  employment,  unless  they  are  part  of  a  larger  or- 
ganization. A  mere  spontaneous  uprising  among 
them  does  not  accomplish  permanent  results,  and 
may  only  lead  to  their  discharge.  One  girl  de- 
scribed a  "non-union  strike"  in  a  bindery  in  which 
she  had  worked.  "The  girls  went  out  because 
they  wanted  more  pay.  It  was  a  bad  time  for 

172 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

there  was  very  little  work.  All  the  girls,  six  or 
seven,  walked  out,  except  one.  She  was  a  foreigner 
and  wouldn't  have  gone  out  for  anybody.  I  told 
the  others  I  thought  it  was  better  to  wait  until 
there  was  more  work,  but  they  wouldn't  listen  to 
me.  We  lost.  The  firm  took  on  other  girls." 

In  another  non-union  bindery  a  few  girls  tried 
to  organize  a  protest  against  overtime  work. 
They  had  been  working  late  in  the  week  preceding 
Christmas,  and  they  did  not  want  to  stay  through 
Christmas  Eve,  which  happened  to  be  a  Saturday. 
Two  of  the  girls  went  about  the  workroom  asking 
the  others  to  refuse  to  work  overtime  that  day. 
The  one  who  afterwards  told  the  story  agreed  to 
the  plan,  but  as  she  was  feeding  the  folding  ma- 
chine she  "could  not  hear  what  was  going  on." 
Meanwhile  the  other  girls  decided  not  to  protest. 
Later  in  the  afternoon  the  forewoman  asked 
her  if  she  intended  to  work  overtime;  she  kept 
her  agreement  and  refused.  The  forewoman  dis- 
missed her.  She  stopped  her  machine  and  told 
the  other  girls  that  she  was  losing  her  job  because 
they  had  not  kept  their  word.  Two  of  them  offered 
to  leave,  but  she  urged  them  to  stay.  "There 
was  no  use  having  three  people  out  of  work,"  she 
said.  But  the  forewoman  appeared  again,  and 
dismissed  all  three. 

It  should  be  remembered  that  in  all  these  bar- 
gains, the  state  through  its  labor  laws  has  already 
established  a  standard  as  a  foundation  for  the 
agreement  between  employer  and  employe.  In 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

these  laws,  already  outlined,  hours,  sanitary  con- 
ditions, and  minimum  age  are  defined.  No  manu- 
facturer may  lawfully  employ  a  child  under  four- 
teen; no  child  under  sixteen  may  work  more  than 
eight  hours  in  any  one  day,  or  at  any  time  except 
between  8  a.  m.  and  5  p.  m.  No  employer  may 
legally  require  a  girl  under  twenty-one  to  work  dur- 
ing the  night  hours.  No  employer  may  contract 
for  the  labor  of  any  woman  for  more  than  fifty- 
four  hours  in  a  week.  Even  if  only  one  person  is 
in  his  employ,  a  factory  owner  must  meet  these 
requirements,  and  others  regarding  ventilation, 
lighting,  and  sanitation.  But  the  state  has  noth- 
ing to  say  regarding  wages,  and  its  standard  of 
hours  is  much  below  the  trade  unionist's  ideal  of  an 
eight-hour  day.  The  demand  for  a  living  wage 
and  an  eight-hour  day  is  left  to  be  voiced  by  the 
thousands  of  unions  in  the  many  trades  organized 
by  the  American  Federation  of  Labor,  of  which  the 
International  Brotherhood  of  Bookbinders  is  a 
member. 

The  International  Brotherhood  of  Bookbinders 
was  organized  in  Philadelphia  in  1892,  by  book- 
binders who  had  formerly  belonged  to  the  Knights 
of  Labor.  Its  membership  included  binders  of 
printed  books  and  blankbooks,  paper  rulers,  paper 
cutters,  edge  gilders,  and  marblers,  and  workers  in 
all  other  branches  of  the  bookbinding  industry. 
The  Brotherhood  is  now  made  up  of  more  than 
200  local  organizations  to  whom  it  has  issued 
charters  on  application  of  10  or  more  persons 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

working  in  the  trade.  The  largest  of  any  of  these 
local  unions  in  the  bookbinding  trade  throughout 
the  country  is  the  bindery  women's  union  in  New 
York,  known  as  Local  43  of  the  International 
Brotherhood  of  Bookbinders. 

Local  43  includes  women  workers  in  all  pro- 
cesses of  the  trade  except  gold  leaf  laying.*  It 
was  organized  in  1895,  with  less  than  50  members. 
In  1906  it  numbered  800,  in  1909,  1400,  and  in 
1912,  1600.  Thus  it  has  doubled  its  membership 
in  six  years.  These  six  years  have  been  the  period 
of  complete  control  of  the  organization  by  women 
officers.  Early  in  this  period,  in  1907,  a  per- 
manent office  was  opened  at  150  Nassau  Street, 
New  York,  and  one  of  the  women  members  was 
elected  secretary-treasurer  to  give  her  whole  time 
to  transacting  the  business  of  the  union.  In  191 1, 
the  president  gave  up  her  work  as  sewer  in  a  large 
bindery,  and  became  a  salaried  organizer.  The 
initiation  fee  is  $3.00  and  the  monthly  dues  there- 
after 25  cents.  In  addition  to  paying  its  regular 
per  capita  tax  to  the  International  Brotherhood, 
Local  43  meets  from  these  dues  the  expenses  of 
its  office. 

To  those  who  think  that  trade  unionism  is  syn- 
onymous with  strikes  and  picketing  and  keeping 
another  out  of  a  job,  a  visit  to  the  office  of  Local 

*  The  gold  leaf  layers  in  New  York  are  members  of  Local  22,  which 
is  made  up  also  of  men  stampers,  and  is  part  of  the  International 
Brotherhood.  After  the  convention  of  the  Brotherhood  in  June, 
1912,  Local  22  was  merged  with  Locals  i  and  1 1  in  a  new  Local  3, 
but  in  this  chapter  the  former  number  is  retained. 

175 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

43  would  bring  many  surprises.  With  scarcely  a 
strike  in  its  history,  this  local,  made  up  almost  en- 
tirely of  American-born  girls,  has  continued  its 
quiet,  steady  work,  securing  its  aims  by  good  busi- 
ness methods,  by  conference  and  discussion  with 
employers,  by  give-and-take  adjustments  of  diffi- 
culties arising  in  various  shops,  and  by  inducing 
employers  to  guarantee  a  minimum  rate  of  pay  for 
each  process  of  women's  work. 

It  is  these  local  unions  in  the  various  communi- 
ties which  make  trade  agreements  with  employers. 
The  international  organization,  especially  in  its 
biennial  conventions  and  its  trade  journal,  affords 
a  means  of  discussion  of  interests  common  to  all 
the  local  unions.  It  handles  questions  relating  to 
co-operation  with  workers  in  other  branches  of  the 
printing  and  publishing  industry,  and  reenforces 
local  efforts  by  the  backing  of  its  membership 
throughout  the  country.  Its  officers  are  elected 
by  votes  of  the  delegates  from  each  local.  The 
number  of  members  in  good  standing,  that  is, 
those  whose  dues  are  paid,  in  each  local,  determines 
the  number  of  votes  to  be  cast  by  its  delegates. 
The  power  of  the  central  organization  is  strength- 
ened by  its  control  of  funds.  Four  separate  per 
capita  taxes  are  levied  by  the  Brotherhood,  and 
must  be  collected  and  paid  at  regular  intervals  by 
each  local.  For  the  journal  fund  men  pay  5  cents 
a  month  and  women  2  cents  a  month;  for  the 
funeral  benefit  fund  ($75)  both  men  and  women 
pay  5  cents;  for  the  organization  fund  each  of  the 

176 


GOLD  LEAF  LAYERS 


A  STAMPER 
(This  man  takes  the  cover  after  the  gold  leaf  has  been  laid  on) 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

men  members  pays  10  cents  a  month,  and  each 
woman  3  cents;  for  the  defense  fund,  used  in  time 
of  strike,  the  tax  is  20  cents  a  month  for  men  and 
5  cents  for  women;  making  a  total  tax  of  40  cents 
a  month  for  men  and  15  cents  for  women.  The 
defense  fund  may  only  be  used  to  sustain  legal 
strikes;  that  is,  those  authorized  by  the  interna- 
tional executive  committee.  To  members  parti- 
cipating in  such  strikes  the  general  office  pays 
benefits  of  $7.00  a  week  to  a  married  man,  $5.00 
to  a  single  man,  and  $4.00  to  a  woman. 

The  trade  union  label  is  one  of  the  important 
tools  for  organizing  workers  in  the  various  bin- 
deries. It  is  the  same  label  as  that  used  by  print- 
ers and  it  signifies  that  the  books  or  pamphlets  on 
which  it  is  stamped  were  manufactured  in  a  union 
shop.  To  control  its  use  in  each  community, 
and  to  discuss  other  common  interests,  Local 
Allied  Printing  Trades  Councils  are  formed  con- 
sisting of  representatives  of  the  unions  of  book- 
binders, printers,  photo-engravers,  stereotypers, 
and  electrotypers.  These  councils  also  have  an 
international  association.  It  is  their  purpose  to 
arouse  public  sentiment  in  favor  of  the  label,  par- 
ticularly on  public  documents  and  books  used  in 
the  public  schools,  thus  frequently  inducing  em- 
ployers who  are  seeking  such  public  contracts  to 
accept  union  organization  in  order  to  have  the  right 
to  use  the  label  when  customers  request  it. 

Probably  the  most  important  event  in  the  his- 
tory of  the  International  Brotherhood  of  Book- 

12  ,77 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

binders,  one  in  which  Local  43  took  an  active  part, 
was  the  demand  for  the  eight-hour  day.  It  was 
made  simultaneously  on  October  i,  1907,  by  local 
unions  throughout  the  country  and  is  an  excellent 
illustration  of  the  relation  of  these  locals  to  the 
international  organization.*  As  early  as  April, 
1907,  the  executive  council  of  the  International 
Brotherhood,  meeting  at  Columbus,  Ohio,  adopted 
this  resolution : 

"Resolved.  That  this  Executive  Council  declare 
for  the  eight-hour  workday  on  October  i,  1907,  and 
that  the  referendum  be  asked  to  ratify  this  action;  the 
vote  to  be  in  the  hands  of  the  General  Secretary  on  or 
before  May  30,  1907." 

News  of  this  decision  was  immediately  sent  to 
all  members  by  means  of  a  circular  addressed  to 
local  unions  Nos.  i  to  174,  for  ratification  not  by 
each  local  as  a  whole  but  by  referendum  vote  by 
individual  members.  The  result  showed  4,906 
votes  in  favor  of  the  demand,  and  1,758  opposed. 
The  next  step  was  to  direct  each  local  to  send 
notices  to  the  employers  of  their  members,  asking 
for  a  conference  to  discuss  the  inauguration  of  the 
shorter  workday  on  October  i ,  the  date  set  by  the 
executive  council.  Thus  the  demand  represented 
not  an  impulsive  action,  but  a  carefully  planned 
move  ratified  by  a  large  majority,  with  due  notice 
to  employers.  In  some  sections  of  the  country 

*  A  full  account  of  the  campaign  was  given  in  the  International 
Bookbinder,  June,  1908,  the  trade  journal  published  by  the  union. 

I78 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

the  fight  was  a  long  one,  but  in  New  York  only 
two  or  three  firms  finally  refused  to  grant  the  reduc- 
tion in  hours.  Against  these  a  strike  was  ordered. 

It  was  at  this  time  that  an  interesting  organiza- 
tion of  employers  was  formed  in  New  York,  as 
the  outcome  of  these  conferences  with  local  unions. 
This  organization  is  called  the  Bookbinders' 
League  and  its  purpose,  as  stated  in  its  constitu- 
tion, is  "  to  discard  the  system  of  making  individual 
labor  contracts  and  instead  to  introduce  the  more 
equitable  system  of  forming  collective  labor  con- 
tracts." Membership  is  limited  to  those  who  own 
or  manage  union  binderies  within  a  radius  of  fifty 
miles  of  the  City  Hall  of  New  York.  These  em- 
ployers planned  to  enter  jointly  into  an  agreement 
with  the  bookbinders'  unions,  instead  of  making 
as  many  separate  contracts  as  there  are  firms,  and 
they  aimed  also  to  establish  committees  for  dis- 
cussion and  conciliation  of  difficulties,  and  to  in- 
sure arbitration  of  matters  which  cannot  be  settled 
by  mutual  consultation. 

The  first  subject  for  conference  was  the  eight- 
hour  day,  and  an  agreement  was  signed  by 
the  Bookbinders'  League  and  each  of  the  local 
unions  of  New  York  City,  providing  that  after 
November  18,  1907,  the  hours  of  labor  should 
be  forty-eight  per  week  at  the  scales  of  wages  then 
prevailing.  When  overtime  should  be  necessary 
employes  might  work  an  additional  six  hours  in 
the  week  with  not  more  than  three  extra  hours  in 
any  one  day,  at  the  same  rate  of  wages,  but  any 

179 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

more  overtime  must  be  paid  for  at  time  and  a 
half, — which  means  the  day  rate  plus  50  per  cent. 
It  was  agreed  that  after  a  year  from  the  follow- 
ing January,  all  overtime  above  the  forty-eight- 
hour  week  should  be  paid  at  the  rate  of  time  and 
a  half.  Provision  was  made  for  night  work  by 
agreeing  that  union  binderies  might  run  a  second 
shift  of  forty-five  hours  a  week  at  the  same  rate 
as  that  paid  to  day  workers.  A  clause  was  inserted 
which  provided  that  union  members  should  be 
given  the  preference  in  all  cases  where  positions 
were  open,  but  that  if  the  unions  could  not  fur- 
nish workers  the  employer  had  the  right  to 
engage  non-union  men  or  women. 

This  agreement  was  signed  by  the  six  local 
unions  in  New  York  and  by  the  seven  firms  that 
were  charter  members  of  the  Bookbinders'  League. 
The  unions  then  sent  copies  to  all  other  firms,  not 
members  of  the  league,  asking  them  to  comply 
with  the  provisions  regarding  hours.  With  few 
exceptions,  the  agreement  was  accepted  and  the 
possibility  of  a  widespread  strike  in  New  York 
was  averted. 

In  other  cities,  greater  difficulties  were  encoun- 
tered. Almost  two  years  later  the  president  of 
the  Brotherhood  in  an  official  letter  to  the  Inter- 
national Bookbinder  wrote  that  a  strike  was  still 
in  progress  in  Akron,  Ohio,  but  that  elsewhere  the 
eight-hour  day  had  been  won.  The  total  cost  of 
the  struggle  in  all  sections  of  the  country  was  more 


1 80 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

than  $200,000,*  and  this  was  paid  by  an  assess- 
ment on  all  locals,  even  those  that  had  secured  their 
demands  without  a  strike.  Occurring  at  a  time  of 
widespread  industrial  depression,  it  was  a  severe 
test  of  the  loyalty  of  the  members.  Members  of 
Local  43  paid  extra  assessments  during  that  period 
for  the  eight-hour  workday  fund,  the  greater  part 
of  which  was  used  outside  New  York. 

This  account  shows  how  the  unions  throughout 
the  country,  led  by  the  executive  officers  whom 
they  elect  to  control  the  international  organi- 
zation, may  unite  in  a  simultaneous  demand.  It 
shows  also  the  way  in  which  the  local  unions  ne- 
gotiate with  employers  in  their  own  communities, 
in  order  to  secure  certain  conditions  agreed  upon 
by  the  local  unions  in  all  other  communities.  In 
case  a  prolonged  strike  is  necessary,  a  bindery  girl 
in  New  York  pays  a  regular  tax  to  help  the  workers 
in  another  state  secure  the  eight-hour  day  which 
may  have  been  granted  in  her  place  of  employment 
nearly  two  years  before. 

When  these  demands  have  been  won  their  en- 
forcement must  be  watched  by  the  local  unions. 
The  locals  are  responsible  also  for  negotiations  re- 
garding many  matters  which  are  not  made  the 
subject  of  international  agreement.  This  is  il- 
lustrated by  the  additional  contract  signed  by  the 
locals  in  New  York  and  the  Bookbinders'  League 
on  the  same  date  on  which  they  agreed  to  grant 
the  eight-hour  day  in  their  binderies.  It  is  so  im- 

*  International  Bookbinder,  March,  1909,  p.  97. 
181 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

portant  as  a  peace  protocol  that  it  deserves  full 
quotation. 

"The  Bookbinders'  League  of  New  York  and  Local 
Unions  Nos.  i,  1 1,  22,  43,  77,  1 19  of  the  International 
Brotherhood  of  Bookbinders,  being  desirous  of  entering 
into  an  agreement  for  the  purpose  of  maintaining  an  era 
of  peace  for  their  mutual  advancement  and  prosperity, 
do  hereby  agree  in  all  instances  to  consult  by  committee, 
trade  court,  or  otherwise,  and  to  conciliate  if  possible 
any  controversies,  disagreements,  or  misunderstandings, 
and  if  impossible  to  arrive  at  an  amicable  understand- 
ing, then  and  in  all  cases  to  submit  to  an  arbitration  of 
such  matters — the  committees  being  composed  of  an 
equal  number  of  employes  and  employers  who  shall  ap- 
pear and  state  their  case  before  the  arbitrator,  who  shall 
be  elected  by  mutual  consent — and  that  each  body  here- 
inbefore stated  shall  upon  the  signing  of  this  agreement 
appoint  a  committee  to  arrange  a  schedule  of  prices  and 
hours  which  shall  be  known  and  published  as  the  Book- 
binders' League  of  New  York  Scale  of  Wages,  and  also 
that  the  Locals  Nos.  i,  1 1,  22,  43,  77,  119  of  the  Interna- 
tional Brotherhood  of  Bookbinders  shall  be  and  now  are 
considered  members  of  the  Bookbinders'  League  of  New 
York  for  the  purposes  for  which  it  has  been  organized. 

"It  is  also  understood  that  any  arbitration  must  be 
settled  in  three  months  from  the  time  of  the  submission 
to  arbitration. 

"  In  accordance  with  resolution  of  Locals  Nos.  i,  1 1, 
22,  43,  77,  119  of  the  International  Brotherhood  of 
Bookbinders  this  agreement  will  be  in  force  for  one 
year  from  date."* 

*  Dated  New  York,  December  31,  1907.  New  York  Department 
of  Labor,  Bulletin  No.  36,  March,  1908,  pp.  26-27. 

182 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

In  accordance  with  this  plan  joint  committees 
were  appointed  for  conference  and  conciliation, 
and  these  committees  have  succeeded  in  settling 
various  questions  in  the  shops  allied  with  the 
League.  For  the  bindery  women  in  New  York  the 
agreement  should  have  led  also  to  the  ratification 
of  their  scale  of  wages,  already  prevailing  in  several 
union  binderies.  Unfortunately  this  plan  to  adopt 
a  uniform  wage  scale  was  never  carried  out  by  the 
Bookbinders'  League,  except  in  the  case  of  Local 
22,  which,  as  has  been  explained,  includes  stampers 
(men)  and  gold  leaf  layers  (women).  For  gold 
leaf  layers  the  minimum  rate  continued  to  be  $10 
a  week.  In  January,  1912,  by  another  agreement 
with  the  Bookbinders'  League  and  other  firms  this 
was  increased  to  $11. 

Local  43,  through  negotiation  with  individual 
firms,  had  already  adopted  a  scale  of  wages,  July 
i ,  1 906,  which  still  prevails  in  1912.  Whether  pay- 
ment shall  be  by  piece  or  by  week  is  optional  with 
the  employer,  and  the  wage  scale  specifies  both 
the  piece  rate  and  the  week  rate.  For  example, 
for  machine  folding  the  rate  for  week  work  must 
be  $10,  but  for  piece  work  the  price  per  1,000  is 
specified  for  i2mo,  i6mo,  and  241110,  for  double 
sheets,  and  inserted  sheets.  In  connection  with 
each  process  is  a  clause  reading,  "All  extra  work, 
special  prices  upon  mutual  agreement/'  Thus, 
while  aiming  at  a  rate  of  $10  a  week  for  all  experi- 
enced workers,  it  is  evident  that  negotiation  is 


183 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

necessary  to  determine  the  rate  for  books  of  ex- 
ceptional size  or  quality  of  paper. 

Obviously,  from  the  nature  of  the  work,  it  is 
more  difficult  to  interpret  an  agreement  regarding 
rates  of  pay  than  to  enforce  an  eight-hour  day. 
Books  are  of  many  different  sizes,  and  their  sheets 
are  of  various  grades  of  paper.  Under  the  piece- 
work system  it  is  a  difficult  task  to  maintain  a  fair 
rate.  When  the  price  is  not  definitely  specified 
in  the  printed  wage  scale,  it  must  be  determined  by 
some  such  method,  for  example,  as  that  described 
by  the  superintendent  of  one  of  the  union  binderies. 
According  to  this  plan,  suggested  by  the  officers  of 
Local  43,  three  girls  are  put  to  work  at  the  same 
task,  one  quick,  one  slow,  and  one  of  medium 
speed.  They  are  timed,  and  their  combined  out- 
put is  divided  by  three  to  determine  the  average. 
The  rate  of  pay  for  piece-work  is  then  determined 
so  that  with  this  average  output  the  earnings  would 
be  $10  a  week.  The  quick  worker  will  earn  more. 
The  slow  worker  will  earn  less.  In  either  case  the 
union  makes  no  objection.  The  superintendent 
who  described  this  method  cited  the  case  of  a 
gatherer  employed  in  his  bindery,  who  earned  $22 
a  week,  while  the  girl  next  to  her,  paid  at  the  same 
rate  per  piece,  earned  $7.00.  He  considered  this  a 
sufficient  answer  to  the  objection  that  trade  union- 
ism always  and  invariably  keeps  the  good  worker 
down,  and  forces  up  unduly  the  earnings  of  the  in- 
competent. The  superintendent  of  another  union 
bindery  said  that  he  considered  it  a  profitable  plan 

184 


DROP-ROLL  FOLDING  MACHINE 


AUTOMATIC  FOLDING  MACHINE 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

to  pay  the  most  efficient  worker  higher  wages  than 
the  minimum  scale  demanded  by  the  union. 

Besides  hours  and  wages,  other  important  sub- 
jects are  included  in  the  scope  of  Local  43*5  ac- 
tivities. These  are  the  conditions  of  entrance  to 
union  shops,  including  the  regulation  of  appren- 
ticeship and  provisions  for  admitting  experienced 
workers  to  the  union,  certain  restrictions  as  to  the 
transfer  of  workers  from  one  process  to  another, 
the  granting  of  legal  holidays,  attempts  to  mitigate 
the  hardships  of  slack  season,  and  methods  of  ad- 
justment in  cases  where  hand  workers  are  dis- 
placed by  the  introduction  of  machines. 

The  subject  of  apprenticeship  has  been  discussed 
by  the  International  Brotherhood,  but  the  dis- 
cussion has  concerned  boys  primarily  rather  than 
girls.  Local  unions  have  been  urged  to  introduce 
a  system  of  indenturing  apprentices,  and  to  limit 
their  number  in  proportion  to  the  number  of  ex- 
perienced workers  in  each  shop.*  Such  an  arrange- 
ment, say  the  international  officers,  is  of  value  to 
the  employer  since  it  insures  the  continued  service 
of  the  apprentice  during  his  term,  usually  four  years, 
instead  of  permitting  him  to  go  to  another  shop 
before  the  employer  who  is  training  him  can  reap 
any  benefit  from  such  an  investment.  For  the 
trade  it  is  an  advantage,  because  it  counteracts  the 
tendency,  created  by  the  introduction  of  machines, 
to  make  specialists  in  one  branch.  The  effect  of 

*  See  Report  of  United  States  Industrial  Commission.  IQOI,  Vol. 
XVII,  Part  I,  p.li. 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

this  specialization  on  the  wage  scale  was  described 
by  the  secretary  of  the  Brotherhood  in  his  report 
to  the  Industrial  Commission  in  1901.*  It  "over- 
crowds our  trade  with  incompetent  mechanics," 
he  wrote,  "who,  in  many  cases,  when  out  of  em- 
ployment, will  accept  a  position  at  a  reduced  rate 
of  wages  just  to  obtain  work.  Such  a  man  not 
only  drags  himself  down  financially,  but  others  as 
well." 

The  description  of  the  work  of  women  has  al- 
ready shown  the  same  danger  of  specialization  in 
their  tasks.  To  counteract  it,  Local  43  has  made 
agreements  with  union  firms  limiting  the  pro- 
portion of  apprentices  to  one  in  every  group  of 
10  experienced  women  workers  in  a  shop.f  No 
girl  under  sixteen  years  of  age  may  become  an  ap- 
prentice. The  term  is  approximately  one  year. 
During  that  time  the  experienced  workers  are  ex- 
pected to  teach  the  learner  all  the  hand  processes, 
but  she  is  not  permitted  to  operate  a  machine, 
doubtless  because  she  might  thus  reduce  the  rate 
of  pay  for  machine  operators  to  the  level  of  learners' 
earnings,  and  because  in  acquiring  facility  in  that 
one  process  she  might  learn  nothing  else.  The 
minimum  weekly  wage  for  an  apprentice  is  $5.00, 
with  an  increase  of  50  cents  at  the  end  of  six  months. 
This  rate  of  wage  represents  a  recent  union  gain. 
In  1906  the  rate  for  learners  was  $3.00.  When 

*  Ibid.,  p.  no. 

t  The  superintendent  of  a  union  bindery  said  that  this  was  not  an 
arbitrary  restriction  but  a  natural  one;  a  larger  proportion  of  learners 
could  not  be  properly  taught. 

186 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

sufficiently  experienced,  the  learner  becomes  a 
member  of  the  union,  and  receives  the  union  scale 
of  pay.  None  but  competent  workers  are  ad- 
mitted to  membership,  the  executive  committee 
of  Local  43  passing  upon  each  application. 

It  is  in  the  matter  of  apprenticeship  that  Local 
43  differs  markedly  from  Local  22,  to  which,  as 
has  been  stated,  girls  employed  in  gold  leaf  laying 
belong.  These  girls  are  in  the  finishing  depart- 
ments of  the  binderies  and  usually  have  no  direct 
contact  with  the  other  bindery  women.  Young 
girls  may  be  employed  in  this  department  to  "size 
and  clean"  the  books,  but  they  may  not  touch  the 
gold  until  formally  admitted  to  membership  in  the 
union  as  apprentices.  The  term  of  apprenticeship 
is  three  years  after  admission.  The  wage  at  first 
is  $5.00  with  50  cents  increase  every  six  months, 
until  the  end  of  three  years  when  the  minimum 
wage  is  $i  i .  The  gold  is  so  precious  that  employ- 
ers are  quite  willing  not  to  permit  inexperienced 
girls  to  handle  it  until  they  have  done  enough 
preliminary  work  in  the  department  to  be  eligible 
to  apprenticeship.  About  200  women  gold  leaf 
layers  are  members  of  the  union. 

In  Local  43  admission  to  membership  is  not  con- 
fined to  girls  who  have  been  apprentices  in  union 
shops,  but  includes  also  experienced  workers  in 
the  various  processes,  who  have  not  before  been 
union  members.  For  these  the  conditions  of  join- 
ing are  the  same  as  for  those  who  have  just  com- 
pleted their  apprenticeship.  Each  application  is 

187 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

voted  upon  by  the  executive  committee,  serving  as 
the  elected  representatives  of  all  the  members. 
The  union  welcomes  additions  to  its  ranks  and 
does  not  make  any  attempt,  as  is  often  charged 
against  such  organizations,  to  restrict  the  number 
of  workers  in  the  trade.  Its  agreement  with  em- 
ployers, already  quoted,  permits  the  employment 
of  non-union  workers  when  the  union  is  unable  to 
furnish  workers  who  are  enrolled  in  its  membership. 
If  these  non-union  girls  are  merely  temporary 
hands  they  may  not  be  required  to  join  the  union, 
but  if  they  are  permanently  employed  they  must 
become  members  within  two  weeks  after  beginning 
work  in  a  union  shop. 

To  facilitate  the  carrying  out  of  the  employers* 
agreement  to  give  the  preference  to  union  mem- 
bers, one  of  the  most  important  duties  of  the  sec- 
retary-treasurer is  to  maintain  an  employment 
registry.  A  list  of  unemployed  members  is  kept 
up-to-date,  and  when  union  employers  need  work- 
ers they  are  expected  to  notify  the  union  office. 
The  workers  needed  for  a  particular  process  are 
recommended  impartially  according  to  the  order  of 
their  application.  This  system  not  only  serves  as 
a  convenience  to  employers  but  helps  to  relieve  the 
hardship  of  irregular  employment  for  the  workers. 

As  a  further  remedy  for  slack  season,  it  is  ar- 
ranged in  some  union  shops  that  when  the  work  on 
hand  is  insufficient  for  the  normal  force  it  shall  be 
divided  so  that  each  may  have  a  share.  Thus  un- 
employment for  an  indefinite  period  is  avoided. 

1 88 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

On  the  other  hand,  as  a  remedy  for  overwork,  the 
union  demands  a  higher  rate  of  pay  for  overtime, 
and  double  price  for  employment  on  Sundays  or 
legal  holidays.  On  only  one  legal  holiday — Labor 
Day — is  work  forbidden  by  the  union. 

One  more  requirement  made  by  Local  43  is  im- 
portant. It  concerns  the  transfer  of  a  worker 
from  one  process  to  another.  In  the  printed  scale 
of  prices  the  following  paragraph  appears: 

"Any  member  may  be  assigned  work  in  any  position 
other  than  the  position  in  which  she  was  engaged,  in 
case  of  emergency,  and  if  such  emergency  position  car- 
ries with  it  a  higher  scale  than  she  has  been  receiving, 
she  will  receive  while  filling  that  position  the  higher  scale. 
Or  a  member  sent  to  fill  an  emergency  position  at  the 
lower  scale  shall  not  be  reduced  to  the  lower  scale/' 

The  reason  for  this  provision,  obviously,  is  to  pro- 
tect the  worker  against  a  reduction  in  wages  be- 
cause of  transfer  to  another  process,  and,  on  the 
other  hand,  to  prevent  the  lowering  of  an  estab- 
lished rate  for  any  process  by  putting  a  less  well- 
paid  girl  to  work  at  it.  In  the  same  spirit,  the 
union  attempts  to  protect  the  workers  against  loss 
when  new  machines  are  introduced.  For  example, 
in  three  union  binderies  in  New  York  five  women, 
who  formerly  were  hand  gatherers,  are  successfully 
operating  the  gathering  machines,  the  mechanism 
of  which  is  said  by  employers  to  be  more  com- 
plicated than  that  of  any  machine  operated  by 
men  in  the  trade.  The  tendency  is  to  employ 

189 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

men  operators  for  this  work,  but  in  each  of  the 
cases  cited  the  women's  union  secured  the  oppor- 
tunity for  a  woman  at  the  same  wage  that  a  man 
would  receive,  $18  a  week. 

It  is  in  making  such  adjustments  that  the  con- 
structive business  ability  of  Local  43  has  been 
shown.  A  shop  stewardess  is  appointed  in  each 
workroom.  The  workers  complain  to  the  steward- 
ess in  case  there  is  any  violation  of  the  agreement 
regarding  hours,  wages,  or  other  conditions.  If  she 
fails  to  adjust  a  grievance  through  conference  with 
the  foreman  or  forewoman,  the  union  officers  take 
it  up,  and  if  the  difficulty  prove  serious,  it  may 
finally  be  referred  to  the  international  executive 
council.  Usually  the  adjustment  is  made  in  the 
workroom.  If  it  cannot  be  adjusted  in  any  other 
way  the  local,  with  the  approval  of  the  interna- 
tional officers,  may  order  a  strike,  and  the  expenses 
of  such  a  contest  are  borne  during  the  first  two 
weeks  by  the  local,  and  afterwards  by  the  inter- 
national defense  fund. 

Local  43,  as  has  been  stated,  has  i  ,600  members, 
and  the  women  members  of  Local  22,  the  gold 
leaf  layers,  number  about  200.  The  total  number 
of  women  in  the  trade  is  about  6,000.  Out  of 
more  than  200  shops  counted  in  this  investiga- 
tion, those  in  which  the  women  are  organized 
number  about  40.  Nevertheless,  the  union  shops 
are  important  ones,  and  the  union  influence  is 
greater  than  their  numbers  would  indicate, — a 
fact  demonstrated  by  the  rapid  extension  of  the 

190 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING  IN  THE  BINDERY  TRADE 

eight-hour  day  to  non-union  shops  after  it  had 
been  won  by  union  efforts. 

Workers  are  often  content  to  reap  the  benefit 
of  unionism  without  sharing  in  its  burdens,  and 
there  are  employers  who  see  in  this  fact  the  possi- 
bility of  keeping  their  employes  out  of  the  union 
by  maintaining  union  conditions.  Again  and 
again  employers  say,  "We  have  union  conditions 
and  don't  bother  with  the  union."  As  in  many 
other  trades,  one  hears  employers  who  are  opposed 
to  dealing  with  an  organization  of  their  workers 
express  their  opinion  in  such  phrases  as,  "  I  won't 
be  dictated  to,"  or  "  I  wish  no  interference  from 
the  workers  in  running  my  own  business."  It 
is  significant  that  the  superintendent  of  an  es- 
tablishment which  has  had  long  experience  with 
trade  unions  in  several  branches  of  the  print- 
ing industry  expresses  the  conviction  that  only 
by  frank  conference  and  discussion,  such  as  the 
union  makes  possible,  can  an  employer  hope  for 
real  efficiency  in  his  workroom  force.  He  pays  a 
high  tribute  to  trade  unionism  forwomen,  especially 
as  he  has  known  it  in  the  methods  of  Local  43. 

The  indifferent  attitude  of  some  women  toward 
unionism  is  illustrated  by  a  letter  from  a  bindery 
worker  to  whom  an  investigator  had  sent  a  book- 
let of  information  about  the  union.  "I  do  not 
belong  to  any  of  the  unions,"  she  wrote,  "as  I 
don't  think  it  necessary.  We  are  not  obliged  to 
belong  yet.  At  the  same  time,  it  is  nice  to  be 
up-to-date  and  prepared  for  the  occasion." 

191 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

This  girl  worked  in  a  shop  where  some  school 
books  are  bound.  Her  implication  that  she  might 
be  obliged  to  join  was  due  to  the  fact  that  pressure 
is  often  brought  to  bear  to  have  the  union  label 
put  on  books  which  are  public  property.  That 
the  agitation  for  the  use  of  the  union  label  is  not 
more  of  an  aid  than  it  actually  is  to  the  organiza- 
tion of  bindery  women  is  due  in  part  to  the  in- 
difference of  men  in  the  trade  to  the  welfare  of 
the  women.  Some  of  them  are  quite  content  to 
consider  a  shop  a  good  union  place  and  to  permit 
the  use  of  the  label  on  its  products,  if  the  men 
are  organized,  even  when  not  one  of  the  women  is 
a  union  member.  Furthermore,  a  union  printer 
will  sometimes  put  a  label  on  a  book,  although  he 
has  had  it  bound  in  a  shop  where  neither  men  nor 
women  are  union  members.  This  defeats  the 
purpose  of  the  label  as  a  means  of  unionizing  all 
the  workers  in  the  shop  which  uses  it. 

Employers  agree  with  the  women  unionists  that 
the  growth  of  Local  43  has  been  due  far  more  to 
the  efforts  of  the  women  than  to  any  co-operation 
on  the  part  of  the  men.  Indeed,  in  disputes  over 
borderline  processes,  such  as  the  operation  of  the 
gathering  machine,  the  men  have  been,  as  one 
employer  expressed  it,  "unbelievably  hostile  to 
the  women." 

To  judge  of  the  results  of  trade  unionism  by  com- 
parison between  union  and  non-union  shops  is 
never  fair,  since,  fortunately,  betterment  of  condi- 
tions usually  has  an  influence  extending  beyond  the 

192 


COLLECTIVE  BARGAINING   IN  THE    BINDERY  TRADE 

establishment  in  which  it  is  first  secured.  Indeed, 
the  trade  unionist  sometimes  declares  openly,  to 
the  amazement  of  the  public,  that  the  improve- 
ment of  conditions  is  of  less  importance  to  him 
than  recognition  of  the  union, — by  which  he  means 
putting  into  operation  the  machinery  of  the  col- 
lective bargain.  Conditions  in  union  binderies 
in  New  York,  however,  prove  that  the  bindery 
women's  union  is  an  important  factor  in  improving 
the  conditions  of  women's  work  in  the  trade.  In 
regulations  regarding  the  training  of  learners,  in 
the  shortening  of  the  normal  hours  below  the 
limit  which  the  state  has  been  able  to  establish  by 
legislation,  in  the  gradual  enforcement  of  a  mini- 
mum wage  scale,  and  in  the  protection  of  indi- 
vidual women  against  unjust  and  unfair  treat- 
ment, it  has  accomplished  results  more  important 
than  any  yet  secured  for  this  trade  through  legis- 
lation. 


193 


CHAPTER  VIII 
TEACHING  GIRLS  THE  TRADE 

CURRENT  discussions  of  industrial  educa- 
tion are  emphasizing  the  fact  that  the  com- 
munity through  its  public  schools  is  re- 
sponsible for  developing  the  efficiency  of  the  work- 
ers in  its  industries.  When  these  discussions  are 
based  not  on  general  theory  but  on  concrete  knowl- 
edge of  such  conditions  as  prevail,  for  example,  in 
the  bookbinding  trade,  the  real  difficulties  in  the 
way  of  meeting  this  responsibility  become  clearer. 
For  more  discouraging  than  the  lack  of  skilled  work- 
men, frequently  deplored  in  America,  is  the  lack 
of  demand  for  skill  in  the  old  sense  of  power  com- 
pounded of  manual  dexterity  and  intelligence. 
Efficiency  in  a  manual  occupation  is  made  up  of 
three  elements,  brain,  hand,  and  time,  but  it  is 
the  change  in  the  relative  importance  of  these 
three  which  is  at  the  root  of  the  present  baffling 
problem  of  industrial  education. 

Of  this  change,  women's  work  in  bookbinding  is 
an  excellent  illustration.  To  plan  the  binding  of  a 
book  from  beginning  to  end,  to  have  margins  of  the 
right  width,  to  sew  with  the  right  sized  thread  for 
the  right  weight  of  paper,  to  design  an  appropriate 

194 


TEACHING   GIRLS  THE   TRADE 

cover  expressive  of  the  spirit  of  the  text,  to  choose 
the  proper  leather,  and  to  treat  it  scientifically, — 
to  neglect  no  detail  which  belongs  to  a  solid,  sub- 
stantial, appropriate  piece  of  work,  requires  a  high 
order  of  brain  and  artistic  ability.  But  the  girl 
who  folds  the  sheets  in  a  modern  bindery  is  not 
asked  to  choose  the  paper,  or  to  plan  the  width  of 
the  margins,  and  very  probably  she  will  never  see 
the  cover  of  the  completed  book.  She  is  required 
to  fold  so  that  the  printing  on  one  page  will  exactly 
coincide  with  the  printing  on  the  page  which  faces 
it,  thus  insuring  even  margins  after  the  cutting 
machine  has  done  its  work;  and  she  is  expected  to 
work  fast.  As  the  manual  element  is  reduced  to 
its  simplest  terms, — mere  rapid  repetition, — the 
brain  element  controlling  the  hand  is  not  at  a 
premium.  For  feeding  a  machine,  knowledge  of 
mechanical  devices  is  desirable  but  not  essential. 
Bookbinding  for  women  is  a  skilled  industry  so 
organized  as  to  be  carried  on  in  many  departments 
by  unskilled  workers.  It  does  not  require  the 
efficiency  of  the  craftsman,  and  therefore,  it  does 
not  demand  of  its  novices  that  they  meet  the  test 
of  a  thorough  training  designed  to  develop  the 
sort  of  intelligence  in  which  educators  are  in- 
terested. 

The  restrictions  on  entrance  to  the  trade  are 
not  severe,  and  they  do  not  keep  out  workers  who 
may  not  be  adapted  to  the  demands  of  the  occupa- 
tion. They  are  three-fold, — the  law  regulating 
the  employment  of  children,  regulations  prescribed 

195 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

by  the  trade  union,  and  rules  adopted  by  indi- 
vidual employers. 

The  New  York  state  law,  governing  bookbind- 
eries  in  common  with  all  other  factories,  forbids 
the  employment  of  any  child  who  has  not  yet 
reached  the  fourteenth  birthday,  and  requires  that 
all  children  between  the  ages  of  fourteen  and  six- 
teen be  provided  with  employment  certificates. 
To  secure  the  certificate,  the  child's  age  must  have 
been  proved  satisfactorily,  she  must  have  reached 
the  required  grade  in  school  (prescribed  as  58  in 
New  York  City),  and  have  attended  at  least  130 
school  days  in  the  twelve  months  preceding  her 
fourteenth  birthday,  or  the  date  of  her  application. 
The  trade  union  already  described  names  six- 
teen as  the  minimum  age  of  apprentices,  and  limits 
their  proportion  in  relation  to  experienced  workers 
in  a  ratio  of  one  to  10.  Employers'  methods  vary 
widely.  Of  207  who  stated  a  definite  policy  re- 
garding learners,  142  are  willing  to  employ  them, 
while  65  engage  only  experienced  workers.  Of  the 
firms  willing  to  employ  learners,  1 16  gave  definite 
information  regarding  the  minimum  age:  54  will 
employ  no  girls  under  sixteen  years  of  age,  three 
preferring  workers  seventeen  years  old;  and  62 
will  employ  girls  of  fourteen  or  fifteen.  No  defi- 
nite educational  requirements  are  found.  Only 
one  employer  expressed  a  preference  for  grammar 
graduates. 

Thus  the  barriers  at  entrance  are  not  high  enough 
to  prevent  the  employment  of  a  young  girl  of  four- 

196 


TEACHING   GIRLS  THE   TRADE 

teen,  who  has  selected  the  occupation  with  no 
idea  of  its  future  opportunities  for  her,  but  merely 
because  she  happened  to  notice  a  bookbinder's  ad- 
vertisement for  learners  the  day  she  secured  her 
working  papers.  She  does  not  know  then  that  a 
learner  in  the  bookbinding  trade  is  not  necessarily 
an  apprentice  practicing  tasks  which  will  lead  to 
more  highly  skilled  work;  she  is  ignorant  of  the  fact 
that  she  may  be  merely  an  unskilled  worker  needed 
for  certain  processes  which  do  not  prepare  her  for 
other  parts  of  the  trade.  The  two  types  of  learners 
may  be  working  side  by  side  in  the  same  bindery. 
As  the  training  is  often  so  casual  and  differs  so 
markedly  for  different  girls,  it  can  be  accurately 
described  only  by  relating  the  comments  and  ex- 
periences of  individual  workers. 

"  I'm  never  laid  off,  because  I  can  turn  my  hand 
to  a  good  many  different  things,"  said  one  girl 
who  considered  herself  an  all-round  worker,  and 
took  pleasure  in  telling  how  she  had  learned  her 
trade.  She  went  to  work  in  an  edition  bindery 
when  she  was  sixteen  years  old.  Her  sister  was 
also  a  learner  there.  "When  we  first  began,"  she 
said,  "  we  were  waiting  on  everybody  in  the  place." 
When  the  feeder  of  one  of  the  folding  machines 
stopped  work  at  5:15,  this  girl  would  stay  until 
5:30  to  practice  operating  it.  "Most  girls,"  she 
said,  "won't  stay  after  hours  to  practice.  It's  a 
girl's  own  fault  if  she  doesn't  learn.  If  they  put 
her  on  cutting  off,  she  ought  to  watch  the  machine 
and  then  she'll  learn  to  sew.  The  forewoman  in 

197 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

our  bindery  teaches  a  girl  if  she's  bright.  Of 
course,  if  she  isn't  it  doesn't  pay  to  bother  with 
her.  But  I'll  admit  it's  discouraging  when  you 
first  go  into  a  bindery.  You  must  have  such  a 
knack  about  everything.  And  you  must  be  strong 
and  not  nervous,  for  you're  liable  to  be  hurt  by 
the  machines.  The  work  they  give  learners,  like 
knocking  up,  is  heavy,  and  you're  on  your  feet  all 
day  long."  Her  main  work  was  knocking  up  the 
folded  sheets.  Gradually  she  learned  to  feed  the 
point  folding  machine  and  that  became  her  spe- 
cialty. It  was  necessary  to  learn  hand  folding, 
in  order  to  detect  errors  in  the  work  of  the  ma- 
chine. She  learned  to  gather  by  hand  and  to  size 
and  clean  the  books  in  the  gold  laying  department, 
a  process  not  usually  assigned  to  "general  bindery" 
girls.  She  learned  to  examine  and  to  wrap  the 
finished  volumes,  and  for  a  while  was  the  head 
wrapper.  The  method  of  learning  was  obviously 
not  systematic.  At  first  the  forewoman  showed 
her  how  to  do  the  work.  Then  she  learned  by 
watching  and  by  seizing  every  opportunity  to 
practice.  She  has  never  had  a  chance  to  paste,  to 
collate,  or  to  operate  the  sewing  machine,  yet  she 
is  considered  an  experienced  bindery  girl. 

"The  girls  show  you,"  said  another,  who  had 
begun  work  at  the  age  of  sixteen,  before  graduating 
from  the  public  school,  and  had  been  employed  for 
four  years  in  the  same  edition  bindery.  She  had 
"jogged"  or  "knocked  up"  the  sheets  folded  by 
machine,  "cut  off"  books  from  the  sewing  ma- 

198 


HAND  FOLDERS 


THE  POINT  FOLDING  MACHINE 


TEACHING   GIRLS  THE   TRADE 

chine;  folded  by  hand;  "pulled  out"  sheets  from 
the  gathering  machine;  and  finally,  as  her  main 
line  of  work,  operated  the  wire-stitching  machine. 
Occasionally  she  had  gathered  and  pasted  by  hand 
and  sewed  by  machine,  but  not  often  enough  to 
learn  these  processes.  The  time  it  takes  to  learn 
"depends  on  yourself,"  she  said.  "If  you  don't  sit 
yourself  down  at  the  machines  and  try  them,  no 
one  else  will  ever  sit  you  down  at  one.  And  you 
have  to  be  willing  to  do  work  that  you  don't  like." 
Stories  like  these,  repeated  many  times  by  workers, 
gave  the  impression  that  the  learner  herself  was 
the  only  one  interested  in  her  training. 

Some  of  the  girls  occupying  the  best  positions 
in  the  trade  have  been  strict  specialists.  An 
operator  of  a  sewing  machine,  who  has  been  a 
bindery  worker  for  four  years,  understands  no 
process  except  sewing.  As  a  beginner  she  cut  off 
the  books  after  they  were  sewed,  and  thus  learned 
the  working  of  the  machine  and  became  an  oper- 
ator. In  contrast  to  her  experience,  her  aunt  who 
has  worked  six  years  in  the  trade  has  never  oper- 
ated a  machine.  She  has  straightened  sheets, 
folded  and  inserted  by  hand,  and  wrapped  books. 
She  and  her  niece  work  in  the  same  bindery,  but 
neither  could  take  the  other's  place  without  be- 
coming a  learner  again. 

Even  though  the  training  received  by  these 
women  has  been  neither  systematic  nor  thorough, 
they  have  all  been  learners  in  the  sense  of  having 
before  them  the  possibility  of  advance,  as  they  be- 

199 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

came  more  expert  in  the  processes  which  they  had 
learned.  Another  type  of  learner  is  the  inexper- 
ienced worker,  employed  in  busy  seasons  to  do  un- 
skilled work  which  leads  nowhere.  Sometimes 
one  of  them  passes  on  to  a  more  skilled  process. 
Many  of  them  are  casual  workers,  whose  presence 
serves  to  complicate  the  problems  of  the  bindery 
trade.  As  a  group,  they  may  be  called  the  un- 
trained bindery  workers.  "We  take  on  learners 
for  temporary  work,"  said  the  owner  of  a  large 
pamphlet  bindery.  "Then  we  weed  them  out." 
This  is  the  meaning  of  such  advertisements  as 
these  which  appear  frequently  in  the  newspapers: 
"Ten  bright,  quick  girls;  $4  weekly.  Apply  Sat- 
urday morning,  ready  to  start  work."  "Wanted: 
30  girls  as  learners:  must  be  over  16:  $4. 50  weekly. 
Call  ready  to  work."  In  encouraging  casual  work, 
the  bindery  trade  must  be  held  in  some  measure 
responsible  for  creating  drifters  among  working 
girls  in  New  York.  Securing  no  foothold  in  the 
bindery  trade,  they  wander  from  one  occupation 
to  another. 

Two  examples  show  trade  histories  of  this  kind. 
One  girl  folded  patterns  one  year,  earning  $6.00  a 
week;  worked  in  a  department  store  one  week, 
earning  $3.00;  folded  by  hand  in  a  bindery  three 
months,  earning  $5.00;  and  then  was  "laid  off- 
slack";  folded  by  hand  in  another  bindery  two 
weeks,  at  $6.50,  "laid  off — slack";  idle  four  to  six 
months;  folded  and  inserted  circulars  in  the  mailing 
department  of  a  publishing  house  three  weeks,  a 

200 


TEACHING    GIRLS  THE   TRADE 

temporary  job  for  a  wage  of  $7.00;  folded  pamph- 
lets, edge  work,  at  $1.00  a  day,  but  "didn't  like 
it"  and  stayed  only  two  days.  Her  record  reads: 
"  Has  worked  at  other  places  for  a  short  time.  She 
leaves  home  about  6:45  a.  m.  to  answer  advertise- 
ments. She  and  her  mother  live  alone  in  a  fur- 
nished room  and  she  is  greatly  in  need  of  work.  She 
would  like  to  stay  in  the  bindery  trade  if  work 
were  steady." 

Another  began  work  as  a  cash  girl,  working  two 
months  for  a  weekly  wage  of  $3.50,  "laid  off- 
slack."  She  then  worked  one  year  in  a  magazine 
bindery,  helping  the  operator  of  the  wire-stitching 
machine,  and  earning  from  $3. 50  to  $4.00.  She  left 
"for  a  better  place."  She  "took  money  out  of 
tissues"  in  a  bank  note  house  a  year  and  a  half, 
earning  $6.00  until  she  was  "laid  off — slack."  She 
packed  candy  two  months  during  the  Christmas 
rush,  earning  $5.00  per  week.  Then  she  was  out 
of  work  ten  months.  She  returned  to  pack  candy 
one  month  at  $5.00,  and  was  again  "laid  off — slack." 
She  folded  and  pasted  pamphlets  two  weeks  in  a 
printing  office,  where  the  bindery  work  was  only 
temporary.  She  took  sheets  from  the  gathering 
machine  in  a  magazine  bindery,  earning  a  wage  of 
$1.00  a  day  only  eight  days  in  the  month.  She 
had  worked  five  years  altogether,  and  her  maximum 
earnings  in  any  week  were  $7.00. 

Such  casual  work  seems  to  be  most  frequent  in 
pamphlet  binderies.  The  opportunities  for  begin- 
ners, however,  are  even  more  restricted  in  maga- 

20 1 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

zine  binderies,  with  their  periodical  rush  of  work 
and  their  extensive  use  of  machinery.  In  one 
magazine  bindery,  "learners"  are  employed  to 
separate  the  printed  sections  when  they  have  been 
folded  together.  This  is  called  outserting.  Some- 
times the  learners  stack  the  folded  sheets  in 
bins,  where  they  are  kept  until  needed  for  the 
process  of  gathering.  Sometimes  they  pull  out 
the  gathered  sections  from  the  machine.  Five  of 
the  six  magazines  which  are  bound  in  this  shop 
are  folded  on  the  printing  presses,  so  that  folding 
machines  are  needed  for  only  one  periodical,  and 
hand  folding  is  rare.  No  pasting,  no  sewing,  no 
gathering  by  hand  nor  collating  is  necessary.  The 
forewoman  described  two  learners  who  began  work 
there  eight  or  nine  years  ago  at  $4.00.  They 
learned  to  operate  the  wire-stitching  machines,  and 
are  now  earning  $  1 3  piece  work.  "  They're  among 
the  fortunate  ones,"  she  said.  "  I  can't  teach  all 
my  girls  wire-stitching;  there  are  only  16  ma- 
chines." She  is  one  of  those  who  spoke  of  the 
changes  in  the  bindery  trade,  saying,  "I'd  never 
advise  any  relative  of  mine  to  go  into  it." 

Workers  and  employers  generally  agree  that  an 
edition  bindery  is  the  best  place  for  learners.  The 
work  is  more  exact  and  careful  than  in  pamphlet 
binding.  But  in  this  branch  of  the  trade  no 
definite  plan  seems  to  have  been  developed  except 
in  union  binderies,  where  the  experienced  workers 
feel  a  responsibility  toward  apprentices,  and  are 
interested  from  the  trade  union  point  of  view  in 

202 


TEACHING    GIRLS  THE    TRADE 

preventing  premature  specialization.  This  is  the 
case  in  one  of  the  edition  binderies  frequently  de- 
scribed as  "a  good  place  to  learn."  The  number 
of  apprentices  is  limited,  according  to  the  union 
standard,  thus  preventing  the  encouragement  of 
casual  employment.  "  If  we  took  more  than  that," 
said  the  superintendent,  "we  could  not  teach  them 
properly."  The  minimum  age  is  sixteen.  No 
written  agreement  is  made  on  either  side,  but  ac- 
cording to  the  policy  of  the  trade  union,  learners 
are  expected  to  stay  until  they  have  become  ex- 
perienced, thus  enabling  the  employer  to  be  reason- 
ably sure  that  they  will  not  leave  before  they  begin 
to  make  returns  for  the  trouble  of  teaching.  "  If 
a  boy  should  leave  us  during  his  apprenticeship," 
said  the  superintendent,  "and  go  to  another  union 
shop,  we  could  prevent  his  working."  The  rule  for 
girls  is  less  rigid,  and  apprenticeship  less  formal. 
That  methods  of  training  vary  even  here  is  shown 
by  the  comments  of  several  workers  who  learned 
the  trade  in  this  establishment. 

"They  take  only  a  few  apprentices  here,"  said 
one  girl.  "Then  they  are  sure  to  teach  them. 
But  not  every  girl  learns  the  whole  trade.  Some 
do  only  hand  folding,  some  do  only  sewing, 
others  know  all  the  branches.  I  never  learned  to 
sew  by  hand  or  by  machine.  The  girls  on  the 
sewing  machines  don't  want  to  have  too  many 
girls  learn  their  trade."  She  knocked  up,  counted, 
carried  and  "drew  off"  from  the  whip-stitching 
machine.  As  a  learner  she  received  $2.50.  This 

203 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

was  ten  years  ago.  Her  wages  were  increased 
50  cents  every  six  months,  until  she  received  $5.00. 
Later  her  principal  work  was  operating  the  wire- 
stitching  machine,  for  which  she  was  paid,  by  the 
piece,  from  $10  to  $15  a  week.  Later  still  she 
helped  to  clean  and  repair  books,  cancelling  soiled 
sheets  and  pasting,  so  that  "no  one  could  tell  they 
had  been  repaired." 

"First  I  was  straightening  up  the  books  for  the 
wire-stitching  machine,"  said  another.  "Most 
learners  knock  up  for  the  folders.  Then  for  two 
days  I  was  on  the  machine  for  pasting  covers  on  a 
Sunday  school  journal.  Then  I  wanted  more  pay, 
so  they  said  they'd  try  me  on  other  work,  and  I 
knocked  up  for  a  folding  machine.  There  were 
two  boxes  to  empty,  and  my  pay  was  $4.00.  Then 
they  gave  me  work  on  the  gathering  machine,  and 
afterwards  taught  me  hand  folding.  You  can't 
make  out  on  that.  Two  old  ladies  do  it.  After- 
wards I  was  put  on  piece  work,  inserting,  hand 
folding,  and  outserting.  Then  I  did  hand  pasting, 
because  the  pasting  machine  broke.  When  I  had 
learned  I  made  up  to  $8.50  piece  work." 

Three  or  four  others  described  their  training  in 
this  bindery.  One  had  been  a  box  girl  for  a  year, 
and  knew  no  other  process.  Her  sister  learned 
within  the  first  year  hand  work, — pasting,  insert- 
ing, gathering,  and  collating.  Another  began  her 
career  by  jogging  the  sheets  to  prepare  them  for 
the  wire-stitching  machine.  Later  she  became  a 
wire-stitcher.  Sometimes  she  did  hand  work,— 

204 


TEACHING  GIRLS  THE   TRADE 

folding,  inserting,  and  covering.  She  had  tried 
to  learn  to  use  the  sewing  machine  by  occasional 
furtive  practicing  "when  the  other  girls  were  mak- 
ing tea/'  but  she  was  far  from  becoming  a  sewer,— 
the  part  of  the  trade  which  most  bindery  girls  pre- 
fer. Thus,  even  in  this  large  bindery,  with  its 
reputation  as  "a  good  place  to  learn,"  chance 
seems  to  control  the  training  of  the  apprentice. 

Many  experienced  workers  say  that  large  estab- 
lishments do  not  give  so  good  an  opportunity  to 
learn  as  do  small  shops.  "In  the  big  binderies 
each  girl  has  her  own  work,  and  the  new  ones  don't 
get  any  chance.  They  teach  you  one  thing  and 
keep  you  at  that."  On  the  other  hand,  the  train- 
ing received  in  small  establishments  may  have  dis- 
advantages. A  bindery  as  well  as  a  worker  may 
be  a  specialist,  and  in  such  specialized  workrooms 
a  learner's  opportunities  will  be  even  more  re- 
stricted than  in  a  large  bindery  with  its  subdivi- 
sion of  work.  "Our  workroom  is  not  a  good  place 
for  learners,"  said  a  woman  employed  in  a  small 
pamphlet  bindery.  "We  haven't  any  machines. 
We  do  only  hand  folding  and  pasting  and  insert- 
ing." Larger  places  give  the  advantage  of  a  wider 
choice.  "  I  watch  the  learners,"  said  a  forewoman 
in  charge  of  150  workers,  "and  when  I  see  that  a 
girl  takes  to  one  process  more  than  to  another,  I 
teach  her  that." 

Employers  in  the  bookbinding  trade  are  gener- 
ally rather  indifferent  toward  the  problem  of  train- 
ing women  workers.  A  few  prefer  to  employ  the 

205 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

inexperienced  in  order  that  they  may  train  them 
to  do  the  work  according  to  the  special  methods 
of  their  own  workrooms.  Only  in  this  way,  they 
declare,  can  they  secure  efficient  service.  Others, 
however,  cite  many  reasons  why  they  will  employ 
none  but  experienced  hands. 

"We  bind  only  one  weekly  periodical.  We  have  no 
miscellaneous  work  to  give  to  learners/' 

"Our  season  lasts  six  to  eight  weeks  at  a  time.  We 
couldn't  get  anybody  to  teach  learners.  It  would  take 
too  much  time." 

"We  have  no  time  to  teach  and  the  girls  haven't  the 
patience  to  learn." 

"  It  is  a  poor  proposition  to  take  learners.  As  soon 
as  they  know  anything,  they  leave." 

"As  soon  as  boys  and  girls  get  a  little  smattering  of 
experience,  they  want  to  go  somewhere  else  where  they 
can  get  more  money.  They  don't  care  about  learning 
the  trade,  and  they  spoil  a  great  many  sheets." 

"  We  can't  bother  with  learners.  Rents  are  too  high. 
Sometimes  we  take  inexperienced  girls,  'kids'  we  call 
'em,  for  extra  orders  and  keep  them  about  two  months." 

"We  do  not  like  to  take  learners.  We'd  prefer  to 
have  them  learn  in  a  small  establishment  where  they 
have  more  time  to  teach." 

"We  haven't  time  to  teach,"  said  the  owner  of  a 
bindery  where  three  girls  were  employed. 

"  We  can't  take  learners.  Every  worker  must  count 
in  so  small  an  establishment." 

"  I'm  too  small  to  take  them.  I  haven't  the  capital. 
I  have  to  take  girls  who  know  how  to  work,  and  who 
can  get  my  orders  out  in  the  shortest  possible  time." 

206 


TEACHING   GIRLS  THE   TRADE 

"  We  have  not  the  floor  space." 

"It's  not  practicable  to  take  learners  with  so  much 
competition  as  there  is  in  this  business.  They  spoil 
the  work.  And  then  most  of  it  is  done  by  machinery. 
It  takes  time  to  learn  how  to  manage  a  machine/' 

"In  these  days  of  short  hours,  we  can't  curtail  pro- 
duction by  teaching  learners/' 

"All  our  work  is  rush  work.  We  use  machinery  and 
have  no  time  for  learners/' 

Thus,  conditions  in  the  trade  complicate  the 
learner's  problem.  I  rregular  employment,  special- 
ization, rush  work,  the  piece-work  system,  chang- 
ing methods,  and  the  increasing  complexity  of 
machinery,  all  tend  to  discourage  the  inexper- 
ienced worker,  and  to  make  the  expert  less  in- 
clined to  take  time  to  teach.  As  a  result  of  these 
influences,  two  important  problems  of  training  are 
characteristic  of  the  bindery  trade;  the  problem 
of  the  specialist  in  a  task  which  makes  small  de- 
mands on  the  worker's  intelligence,  and  the  prob- 
lem of  the  untrained,  unskilled  casual  worker. 
For  the  community  to  discharge  its  responsibility 
toward  these  workers,  as  the  advocates  of  indus- 
trial education  demand,  will  be  no  easy  task. 

This  responsibility  for  the  education  of  workers 
begins,  of  course,  when  the  future  worker  is  a  child 
in  school.  A  large  majority,  89  per  cent  of  the 
bindery  girls  interviewed,  have  attended  school  in 
New  York,  56  per  cent  the  public  schools,  and  33 
per  cent  parochial  schools.  Only  2  per  cent  stated 
that  the  last  day  school  attended  was  in  a  foreign 

207 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

country,  and  3  per  cent  had  been  to  school  in  some 
section  of  the  United  States  outside  New  York. 
Six  percent  did  not  report.  Only  10  per  cent  had 
stayed  in  school  until  they  were  sixteen,  while  67 
per  cent  left  at  the  age  of  fourteen  or  younger,  and 
20  per  cent  left  when  they  were  fifteen.  Three  per 
cent  did  not  report.  The  group  of  course  in- 
cludes those  who  went  to  work  several  years  ago, 
before  the  present  provisions  of  the  child  labor 
law  were  operative.  Of  those  who  attended  public 
schools  in  New  York  only  9  per  cent  graduated 
from  grammar  school,  and  none  had  gone  to  high 
school,  while  65  per  cent  had  left  while  in  the 
seventh  grade  or  earlier. 

Fuller  information  about  the  previous  schooling 
of  bindery  girls  was  secured  from  another  inves- 
tigation, made  by  the  Committee  on  Women's 
Work,  in  the  public  evening  schools  in  Manhattan, 
Bronx,  and  Brooklyn  in  1910-11.  In  the  course 
of  it,  girls  in  these  schools  filled  out  record  cards 
giving  detailed  information  about  their  previous 
training  in  day  school.  Among  these  cards  were 
the  records  of  144  bindery  girls.  The  results* 
shown  are  the  more  interesting  as  they  can  be 
compared  with  the  facts  for  other  working  girls, 
who  answered  the  same  questions. 

Among  the  girls  who  named  bookbinding  as  their 
occupation  a  very  large  proportion,  96  per  cent,  re- 
ported that  the  last  day  school  attended  was  in  New 
York,  62  per  cent  naming  public  schools  and  34  per 

*  For  tables  see  Appendix  B,  pp.  250-253. 
208 


TEACHING    GIRLS  THE   TRADE 

cent  parochial  or  private.  Nearly  half,  45  per  cent, 
had  attended  school  eight  years,  and  25  per  cent 
had  remained  longer,  a  better  showing  than  for  girls 
in  all  manufacturing  pursuits  grouped  together. 
Sixty-four  per  cent  left  at  the  age  of  fourteen  or 
younger,  and  only  10  per  cent  stayed  in  school 
after  the  sixteenth  birthday.  Although  eight 
years  is  considered  a  sufficient  time  for  the  "normal 
child"  to  graduate  from  the  elementary  grades,  70 
per  cent  of  these  bindery  girls  had  failed  to  graduate. 
Measuring  their  progress  in  school  by  the  average 
time  taken  to  complete  one  grade,  allowing  one 
year  for  a  grade,  only  21  per  cent  of  those  who  re- 
ceived all  their  school  training  in  New  York  pub- 
lic schools  were  normal,  9  per  cent  were  rapid,  and 
70  per  cent  were  slow,  compared  with  59  per  cent 
slow  among  girls  in  all  trades.  Not  only  has  their 
schooling  been  brief,  but  for  some  reason  they  have 
not  kept  pace  with  the  curriculum.  Another  fact 
of  interest  was  their  preference  for  manual  work 
in  evening  school;  53  per  cent  had  chosen  such 
classes. 

These  figures  show  that  the  schools  are  handi- 
capped by  too  brief  a  contact  with  these  girls, 
that  they  become  workers  at  an  age  when  they 
cannot  be  expected  to  develop  the  skill  of  an  adult 
craftsman.  Too  early  a  start  in  an  occupation 
may  be  equivalent  to  a  false  start.  It  may  con- 
demn a  worker  to  inefficiency  who  might  later 
have  been  more  capable  of  directing  her  own  prog- 
ress. This  is  the  first  step  in  industrial  educa- 
14  209 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

tion, — to  keep  the  children  out  of  industry  until 
they  are  equal  physically,  at  least,  to  its  de- 
mands. 

Other  questions,  however,  are  being  asked  con- 
cerning the  desirability  of  definite  training  in 
processes  of  work  either  in  preliminary  trade 
schools  or  in  continuation  classes.  As  an  example 
of  the  problem  involved  in  this  last  phase  of  in- 
dustrial education  it  is  worth  while  to  outline  the 
information  gathered  by  the  Committee  on  Wom- 
en's Work  at  the  request  of  a  member  of  the  Board 
of  Education  of  New  York.  The  inquiry  was  made 
for  the  purpose  of  answering  a  specific  question  as 
to  the  desirability  of  forming  a  class  in  hand  bind- 
ing in  a  public  evening  school.  The  results,  con- 
sidered in  relation  to  the  other  data  of  the  inves- 
tigation, show  concretely  how  baffling  is  the  prob- 
blem  of  industrial  education  of  girls  in  a  trade  like 
bookbinding. 

The  immediate  cause  of  the  inquiry  was  a  re- 
quest for  supplies  for  a  class  in  bookbinding  to  be 
carried  on  in  connection  with  art  work  in  leather 
in  an  evening  high  school.  Behind  this  request, 
however,  was  the  fundamental  question  of  whether 
or  not  an  evening  class  would  be  of  practical  ser- 
vice in  equipping  women  for  any  branch  of  the 
bookbinding  trade,  or  in  increasing  the  efficiency 
of  those  already  employed  in  it.  This  question 
was  discussed  with  art  binders,  including  a  woman, 
who  manages  her  own  bindery  and  teaches  the 
craft,  with  owners  and  superintendents  of  edition 

210 


TEACHING   GIRLS  THE   TRADE 

binderies,  pamphlet  and  magazine  binderies,  and 
with  officers  of  the  bookbinders'  union.  Not  one 
believed  that  the  plan  was  feasible  or  desirable. 
Their  comments  will  show  their  reasons. 

The  superintendent  of  a  large  edition  bindery 
thought  that,  at  a  comparatively  small  expense, 
it  might  be  possible  to  equip  a  room  in  a  school 
building  with  cutting  machine  and  wire-stitching 
machine,  and  girls  could  then  be  taught  to  handle 
sheets  for  pamphlets  and  to  paste  on  the  covers. 
A  printer  might  give  this  practice  shop  the  con- 
tract for  binding  a  magazine,  but  "the  trade" 
would  probably  object.  A  large  plant  might  be 
developed  if  the  department  of  education  would 
have  its  books  bound  in  this  classroom.  It  would 
be  difficult  to  get  employers  to  co-operate  as  they 
do  in  some  countries,  because  business  men  here 
are  too  much  interested  in  "the  dollar  mark"  and 
in  immediate  profit.  But  even  if  all  these  diffi- 
culties were  removed,  he  believed  that  a  more 
serious  objection  would  remain;  that  after  the 
girls  were  trained  there  would  not  be  enough  open- 
ings for  them  in  the  trade.  In  his  opinion,  the 
demand  for  women's  labor  in  this  industry  is  less 
now  than  the  supply. 

Another  summed  up  his  objections  tersely  by 
saying  that  in  edition  binding  the  hand  work  done 
by  women  is  so  simple  that  there  is  nothing  to 
learn,  while  the  machine  work  would  not  be  prac- 
ticable in  a  school.  In  "extra"  or  art  binding 
the  union  will  not  permit  women  to  do  anything 

211 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

but  fold  or  sew.  Equally  final  and  even  more 
brief,  was  the  statement  of  a  superintendent  of  a 
magazine  bindery,  that  all  the  work  done  by  women 
in  a  magazine  bindery  is  unskilled  labor.  "  There 
is  nothing  to  teach/'  "The  only  way  you  can 
teach  a  person  a  trade,"  said  another,  "is  to  put 
her  in  a  workroom." 

A  member  of  a  firm  which  has  departments  for 
edition  binding  and  for  pamphlet  and  magazine 
work,  considers  that  school  training  in  bookbinding 
is  not  practicable  for  girls  because  their  work  in 
the  trade  requires  mere  manual  dexterity  and  be- 
cause the  demand  for  them  is  decreasing  as  ma- 
chinery develops. 

"  Even  if  you  had  the  machines,"  said  another, 
"it  wouldn't  really  be  the  trade."  He  did  not 
think  that  it  was  necessary  or  practicable  to  teach 
the  trade  in  a  school,  but  he  believed  that  the 
schools  could  fill  a  need  by  giving  a  more  thor- 
ough general  training  in  reading  and  writing. 
Bindery  girls  need  this  knowledge  to  enable  them 
to  put  together  the  pages  of  books  properly. 

It  was  not  machine  binding,  however,  but  hand 
binding  which  was  to  be  introduced  into  the  pro- 
posed class  in  evening  school,  and  although  only 
2  per  cent  of  the  bindery  women  of  New  York  are 
employed  in  this  branch  of  the  trade,  it  had  seemed, 
at  first  glance,  more  feasible  to  train  women  for 
hand  work  of  this  sort  than  for  machine  binding. 
But  inquiry  among  men  and  women  familiar  with 
conditions  in  hand  binderies  brought  replies  quite 

212 


TEACHING   GIRLS  THE   TRADE 

as  discouraging  as  those  in  regard  to  the  large 
machine  binderies. 

One  woman,  who  manages  an  art  bindery,  ex- 
pressed the  opinion  that  women  would  do  well  to 
learn  more  about  the  processes  which  they  are 
now  permitted  to  carry  on  in  binderies,  such  as 
sewing,  pasting,  and  mending.  She  believed  that 
mending  books  might  in  time  offer  a  field  for 
women's  work,  especially  if  this  training  were  part 
of  the  equipment  of  librarians.  She  pointed  out  that 
accurate  judgment  is  required  in  sewing,  pasting, 
and  other  processes  in  commercial  hand  binderies. 
Women  must  know  what  kind  of  sewing  is  needed 
for  each  book,  taking  into  consideration  the  thick- 
ness of  the  paper,  the  size  of  the  book,  and  the 
character  of  the  binding.  For  this  they  must  be 
taught  how  to  think.  They  cannot  merely  pick 
up  the  knowledge  through  casual  work  in  a  shop. 
She  did  not  favor,  however,  an  evening  school  class 
for  bookbinders.  To  teach  the  artistic  features  of 
the  trade  would  be  useless,  because  women  are  not 
permitted  to  do  this  work.  To  teach  the  processes 
now  recognized  as  women's  work  is  not  desirable, 
because  of  the  very  limited  demand  for  women  in 
hand  binderies. 

A  member  of  a  firm  whose  craftsmanlike  work 
has  won  a  well-deserved  and  wide  reputation, 
pointed  out  that  certain  conditions  affecting  the 
trade  as  a  whole  must  be  considered  in  relation  to 
this  question.  Actually  fewer  books  are  being 
bound  by  art  or  job  binders  in  New  York  today 

213 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

than  fifteen  years  ago.  Binders  are  taxed  for 
their  imported  raw  materials,  such  as  leather  and 
paper,  while  many  bound  books  come  in  free.  Pub- 
lishers in  the  United  States  are  sending  some  books 
abroad  to  be  bound.  As  the  finest  class  of  work 
has  been  taken  away  from  the  commercial  binders 
here,  they  have  lost  efficiency  through  lack  of 
practice,  and  are  turning  out  a  grade  of  work  lower 
than  their  potential  abilities  might  justify.  For 
skilled  workmanship  in  the  men's  department, 
New  York  binderies  depend  more  and  more  upon 
foreign-born  workers,  who  have  learned  their  trade 
before  they  came  to  the  United  States.  Prac- 
tically no  apprentices  are  now  being  trained  here. 
One  cause  of  this  is  that  our  apprenticeship  law 
is  too  loose  to  hold  a  boy  for  a  sufficiently  long 
period  to  make  his  training  profitable  to  the 
employer. 

Yet  in  spite  of  the  need  for  skilled  workers,  this 
man  did  not  believe  that  an  evening  class  for 
women  would  be  desirable.  It  might  be  well  to 
teach  women  to  sew  better,  or  paste  better,  but, 
on  the  whole,  he  thought  that  this  trade  was  not 
one  which  offered  good  opportunities  for  women  at 
present.  They  would  not  be  allowed  to  touch  any 
processes  in  commercial  hand  binderies,  except 
those  they  are  now  doing,  and  these  are  too  limited 
to  justify  trade  classes  in  public  schools.  If 
women  are  to  succeed  at  all  in  bookbinding,  they 
must  look  forward  to  owning  their  own  shops. 
Otherwise  those  who  make  any  effort  to  appro- 

214 


TEACHING   GIRLS   THE   TRADE 

priate  men's  tasks  will  come  into  conflict  with 
the  men's  trade  union.  He  pointed  out  that  the 
first  question  to  be  considered  was  the  attitude 
of  the  trade  union  regarding  such  classes.  They 
would  have  the  power  to  put  obstacles  in  the  way, 
and  their  attitude  on  the  question  of  women's  work 
would  demand  careful  consideration. 

The  president  of  the  International  Brotherhood 
of  Bookbinders  and  the  president  and  the  secretary 
of  the  women's  Local  43  defined  for  us  the  trade 
union  attitude  toward  industrial  education.  The 
fundamental  question  which  the  trade  unionist 
asks  is,  what  effect  will  a  trade  school  have  upon 
wages?  If  a  trade  class  results  in  turning  out 
workers  whose  position  in  the  labor  market  makes 
more  difficult  the  trade  union  effort  to  maintain  a 
standard  wage,  then  organized  labor  opposes  it. 
This  is  the  ground  of  their  opposition  to  prelim- 
inary training  which  tends  to  make  a  class  in 
school  the  substitute  for  apprenticeship.  But, 
knowing  the  workmen's  handicap  through  lack  of 
opportunity  to  practice  the  whole  trade,  the  union 
strongly  favors  plans  for  classes  which  give  supple- 
mentary technical  education*  to  workers  already 
employed  in  the  trade. 

*  "Men  cannot  know  too  much  about  the  means  by  which  they 
make  a  living.  And  it  is  well  that  they  should  learn  all  there  is  to 
know,"  said  ex-President  Prescott  of  the  International  Typographical 
Union  in  an  address  before  the  Brotherhood  of  Bookbinders  at  their 
annual  convention  in  1908.  He  had  described  the  typographical 
union's  educational  scheme,  correspondence  courses  for  printers,  and 
said  that  it  was  "in  part  an  effort  to  save  that  trade  from  the  blight 
that  has  settled  on  bookbinding  in  some  localities."  "In  the  book- 
binding trade,"  he  said,  "we  see  the  deplorable  effects  of  specializa- 

215 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

These  officers  of  the  bookbinders'  union  said 
that  they  would  oppose  a  class  in  bookbinding  for 
girls  in  public  evening  schools  for  two  reasons: 
first,  because  they  would  fear  that  the  organization 
of  such  classes  would  tend  to  turn  workers  into 
the  shops  in  too  large  numbers;  and  second,  be- 
cause they  considered  that  specific  conditions  in 
the  trade  made  it  undesirable  to  train  women. 
Rapid  changes  in  machinery  are  a  menace  to 
women's  work.  The  women's  department  is 
minutely  subdivided  so  that  they  are  specialists 
in  particular  processes.  The  job  binderies  are  so 
few  in  number  and  their  work  so  limited  that  they 
are  not  worth  considering  as  a  field  for  women. 
As  to  the  relation*  of  men's  work  to  women's  work, 
the  trade  union  officers  declared  that  the  Brother- 
hood demands  equal  pay  for  equal  work,  and  that, 
so  long  as  this  principle  is  followed,  they  do  not 
object  to  the  employment  of  women  in  any  pro- 
cesses commonly  carried  on  by  men.  In  southern 
cities  women  are  employed  as  forwarders,  finishers, 

tion.  The  foreman  of  one  of  the  best  binderies  there  (Chicago)  told 
me  that  there  were  at  least  eleven  sub-divisions  of  the  trade,  and  that 
the  great  majority  of  men  were  unable  to  do  anything  but  their  re- 
spective specialty.  Collectively  and  individually  the  bookbinders 
would  be  advancing  their  best  interests  if  they  had  a  better  grasp  on 
the  trade,  were  not  the  doers  of  one  simple  process.  The  monotony 
incident  to  such  work  brings  on  mental  decay.  What  you  can  do 
.  .  .  is  problematical,  but  you  should  do  what  you  can.  There 
is  certainly  an  opportunity  to  advance  the  branches  of  stamping  and 
finishing.  This  is  where  craftsmanship  of  a  high  order  can  be  brought 
to  play.  And  craftsmanship  can  be  taught.  If  designing  were  more 
general  among  bookbinders  the  field  for  their  work  would  expand. 
There  is  an  immense  field  in  the  decorative  leather  work  which  might 
be  done  in  the  bindery." — Reported  in  the  International  Bookbinder, 
Vol.  IX,  p.  191  (June,  1908). 

216 


TEACHING   GIRLS   THE   TRADE 

or  rulers,  and  in  New  York  some  women  are  doing 
work  commonly  done  by  men  and  receiving  the 
same  wages.  Without  trade  union  organization, 
however,  "female  labor  means  cheap  labor,  and 
therein  lies  the  danger/'  Finally,  although  they 
agreed  that  the  public  evening  schools  might  well 
be  utilized  to  give  supplementary  technical  educa- 
tion to  girls,  they  were  convinced  that  trade  con- 
ditions in  bookbinding  made  such  a  class  as  had 
been  proposed  undesirable. 

These  statements,  made  by  men  and  women 
who  know  trade  conditions  so  well,  and  yet  view 
them  from  different  angles,  are  a  practical  sum- 
mary of  the  problem  of  industrial  education  for 
women  in  this  trade.  Their  opinions  show  the 
complex  factors  which  the  schools  must  consider, 
and  the  different  points  of  view  which  ought  to  be 
represented  in  any  effort  to  solve  the  problem. 

The  immediate  steps  to  be  taken  are  more 
obvious  than  any  ultimate  solution.  Real  success 
will  depend  upon  the  possibility  of  effective  co-op- 
eration on  the  part  of  workers  and  employers. 
The  trade  union  would  be  a  powerful  ally  in 
efforts  to  keep  children  in  school  until  they  are 
sixteen,  for  already  it  excludes  younger  children 
from  work  in  union  binderies.  To  exclude  these 
children  from  all  binderies  by  legislative  enactment 
would  be  an  important  step  in  industrial  education. 
More  careful  systems  of  training  in  the  workroom 
would  be  an  asset  for  employers  as  well  as  a  benefit 
to  the  workers.  Further  than  that  the  problem  can 

217 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

be  solved  only  by  experiment.  Such  experimental 
plans  might  include  opportunities  to  be  offered  in 
evening  classes  not  to  practice  the  trade  but  to 
gain  instruction  in  fundamental  principles,  whether 
it  be  the  construction  of  a  machine  or  the  treat- 
ment of  leather.  Co-operation  of  this  sort  be- 
tween the  schools  and  the  industry  might  do  much 
to  test  the  best  methods  of  developing  efficient 
workers.  Meanwhile,  it  is  well  frankly  to  recog- 
nize that  extreme  specialization,  constant  stand- 
ing, prolonged  hours  of  work,  irregular  employ- 
ment, and  low  wages  produce  inefficiency  more 
rapidly  than  the  schools  would  be  able  to  train 
skilled  workers. 


218 


CHAPTER  IX 
SUMMARY  AND  OUTLOOK 

THE  conditions  of  women's  work  in  the  book- 
binding trade  fail  in  many  particulars  to 
measure  up  to  the  standard  which  public 
opinion  has  begun  to  demand.  About  i  o  per  cent  of 
the  women  workers  are  under  sixteen.  Careful  su- 
pervision of  learners  in  the  workroom  is  rare.  Pro- 
cesses are  so  subdivided  as  to  deaden  mental  facul- 
ties rather  than  to  encourage  growth  in  intelligence. 
As  yet  the  subject  of  industrial  education  is  dis- 
cussed only  with  reference  to  the  men  in  the  trade, 
and  little  attention  is  given  to  the  problem  in 
the  women's  department.  Operating  complicated 
machines,  repeating  one  process  hour  after  hour, 
standing  at  work  all  day,  carrying  loads  of  heavy 
paper  from  one  part  of  the  shop  to  another,  stoop- 
ing frequently  to  lift  the  folded  sections  of  books, 
pressing  a  foot  pedal  rapidly  and  incessantly,  or 
handling  the  completed  volumes  to  wrap  them 
for  shipping, — these  are  tasks  which  would  in- 
evitably fatigue  girls  even  though  the  day  never 
lasted  longer  than  eight  hours.  Yet  only  a  fourth 
of  the  women  in  the  shops  investigated  had  as 
short  a  working  day  as  eight  hours,  and  44  per 

219 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

cent  worked  longer  than  forty-eight  hours  in  a 
week.  In  fully  three-fourths  of  the  binderies  the 
girls  worked  overtime  at  some  season  of  the  year. 
More  than  half  of  the  statements  collected  re- 
garding this  overtime  showed  an  excess  above  the 
limit  allowed  by  law.  Moreover,  flagrant  instances 
are  recorded  of  the  employment  of  women  through- 
out the  night. 

The  average  wage  reported  by  the  group  of 
girls  interviewed  by  us  was  $7.22  a  week,  while  the 
average  reported  by  census  enumerators  in  1905 
was  even  lower,  $6. 1 3.  Yet  it  has  been  seen  that 
women  bookbinders  are  members  of  households 
in  which  it  is  difficult  to  make  ends  meet,  and  in 
which  heavy  responsibilities  fall  upon  the  women 
wage-earners.  Their  earnings  are  reduced  still 
lower  by  reason  of  irregular  work.  Only  about  a 
third  work  in  establishments  reporting  steady 
employment.  Nearly  three-fourths  of  the  work- 
ers interviewed  had  frequently  lost  time  in  slack 
seasons.  Only  one  in  eight  reported  no  time  lost 
for  any  cause,  while  nearly  a  third  reported  a  loss 
of  one  to  three  months  during  the  year,  and  more 
than  a  fourth  lost  three  months  or  more.  An  esti- 
mate of  the  approximate  yearly  income  of  bindery 
women  shows  that  nearly  three-fourths  receive 
less  than  $400  in  a  year,  in  spite  of  their  finding 
employment  in  other  occupations  when  they 
have  no  work  in  bookbinding.  An  income  of  less 
than  $400  a  year  is  distinctly  below  the  generally 
accepted  estimate  of  $9.00  a  week  as  the  minimum 

220 


SUMMARY    AND    OUTLOOK 

wage  on  which  a  woman  can  support  herself  in  New 
York  City. 

Yet  this  is  a  composite  picture.  It  shows 
neither  the  worst  nor  the  best  conditions  in  the 
trade.  The  standards  prevailing  in  the  best  es- 
tablishments show  that  improvement  in  condi- 
tions is  an  entirely  practical  possibility  already 
tested.  In  contrast  to  the  bindery  in  which  hand 
folders  work  in  a  gallery  less  than  six  feet  from  the 
ceiling  and  must  themselves  fetch  the  sheets  from 
the  main  workroom  below,  is  the  establishment  in 
which  women  work  in  comfortable  quarters  and 
men  or  boys  carry  the  sheets  of  books  to  their 
tables.  In  one  bindery  the  accumulated  stock 
piled  high  shuts  of?  light  and  air  from  the  workers, 
while  in  another  care  is  taken  to  keep  the  stock 
in  a  part  of  the  workroom  where  it  will  not  ob- 
struct ventilation.  One  employer  provides  a 
dressing  room,  supplied  with  hot  and  cold  water 
and  large  enough  for  the  girls  to  have  space  and 
privacy  in  which  to  change  their  clothing  after 
the  day's  work.  Another  fastens  a  few  hooks  for 
hats  and  coats  on  the  wall  in  a  corner  of  the  work- 
room, but  gives  no  further  thought  to  the  work- 
ers' comfort.  Similarly,  one  firm  provides  chairs 
of  the  right  height  for  convenience  and  comfort, 
while  another  carelessly  purchases  stools  without 
backs  or  foot-rests. 

One  employer  engages  large  numbers  of  very 
young  workers  whom  he  keeps  only  for  a  season, 
while  another  makes  sixteen  the  minimum  age  in 

221 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

the  workroom,  and  employs  inexperienced  workers 
not  as  temporary  hands  for  a  rush  order  but  as 
learners  who  have  a  future  ahead. 

One  firm  squeezes  the  wages  down  to  the  lowest 
that  workers  will  accept,  while  another  adopts  a 
definite  standard  of  $5.00  a  week  for  learners  with 
an  increase  of  50  cents  every  six  months  until  they 
become  experienced,  and  thereafter  a  rate  calcu- 
lated to  permit  an  "average"  worker  to  earn  $10 
a  week.  One  employer  makes  every  effort  to 
steady  the  seasons,  and,  if  reduction  in  the  force 
is  inevitable,  he  arranges  a  part  time  schedule  or 
lays  the  workers  off  in  relays  for  definite,  short 
periods,  thus  mitigating  to  a  certain  extent  the 
hardships  of  unemployment.  Another  takes  on 
new  hands  for  every  sudden  order  with  the  delib- 
erate intention  of  dismissing  them  as  soon  as  the 
work  is  finished. 

The  prolonged  working  day,  which  gives  the 
bindery  trade  so  unenviable  a  reputation,  is  not  by 
any  means  a  universal  practice.  1 1  is  found  chiefly  in 
establishments  which  specialize  in  the  binding  and 
mailing  of  magazines.  On  the  other  hand,  there 
are  magazine  binderies  which  have  never  found  a 
twenty  or  twenty-two-hour  day  necessary.  One 
firm  habitually  requires  overtime  work  at  certain 
seasons,  while  another  has  deliberately  tried  to 
avoid  overtime  and  has  succeeded  in  reducing  it 
to  a  minimum. 

The  impression  made  on  the  reader  by  this 
description  of  the  employment  of  women  in  bind- 

222 


SUMMARY   AND   OUTLOOK 

eries  must  depend  on  his  outlook,  and  the  stand- 
ards which  he  has  in  mind.  The  diverse  points  of 
view  from  which  industrial  conditions  are  observed 
result  in  different  standards  of  judgment.  Thus 
the  bindery  worker,  if  she  read  these  chapters,  will 
probably  draw  conclusions  according  to  her  own 
experience.  She  has  doubtless  found  nine  hours  a 
long  day,  overtime  exhausting,  and  $7.00  a  week 
too  low  a  wage  to  live  upon.  She  will  hope,  there- 
fore, to  see  these  conditions  changed  to  meet  her 
own  needs.  If  she  is  a  member  of  the  trade  union 
her  standard  will  be  definite — an  eight-hour  day, 
extra  compensation  for  overtime,  and  $10  a  week 
for  experienced  workers — and  she  will  see  in  the 
statement  of  facts  about  her  trade  an  added  argu- 
ment for  the  extension  of  trade  unionism.  The 
employer  too  will  probably  base  his  judgment  on 
his  own  experience,  gauging  the  facts  presented 
by  the  conditions  prevailing  in  his  establishment. 
Viewing  wages  primarily  as  an  item  of  expense  to 
himself  rather  than  as  the  source  of  income  to  his 
employes,  he  will  be  disposed  to  be  tolerant  of  con- 
ditions as  he  finds  them.  General  readers  will 
differ  in  their  conclusions  as  they  differ  in  their 
knowledge  of  industry  and  their  ability  to  read 
the  facts  about  a  trade  with  full  appreciation  of 
their  significance  in  relation  to  the  welfare  of 
the  workers.  In  spite  of  differences  in  personal 
judgment,  however,  a  growing  fund  of  scientific 
data  about  industrial  conditions  throughout  the 
country  is  making  possible  the  formulation  of 

223 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING    TRADE 

practicable  standards.  Their  application  toa  trade 
will  depend  not  upon  the  various  conclusions  of 
worker,  employer,  and  the  general  public,  but  upon 
an  impersonal,  scientifically  determined  basis  of 
fact. 

A  notable  instance  of  the  use  of  scientific 
evidence  as  a  basis  for  establishing  a  standard  for 
women's  work  occurred  in  1907,  in  a  case  argued 
before  the  highest  court  in  the  land.  A  laundry 
owner  in  Oregon  was  convicted  of  a  violation  of 
the  state  law  which  prohibits  the  employment  of 
women  more  than  ten  hours  a  day.  He  appealed  his 
case  to  the  United  States  Supreme  Court  on  the 
ground  that  such  a  legal  restriction  was  not  in 
accord  with  the  freedom  of  contract  guaranteed  to 
all  citizens  by  the  federal  constitution.  His  argu- 
ment was  met  by  counsel  for  the  state  in  a  brief 
based  not  on  a  theoretical  discussion  of  the  rights 
of  citizens  nor  on  an  oratorical  appeal  on  behalf 
of  working  women,  but  on  an  impressive  and 
scientific  collection  of  the  results  of  the  world- 
wide experience  which  has  led  nations  to  set  a 
legal  limit  to  daily  hours  of  work.* 

*  In  a  marginal  note  to  the  opinion  of  the  court  appears  an  epitome 
of  the  material  showing  the  general  trend  of  this  world-wide  opinion. 
After  a  summary  of  legislation  bearing  on  the  question  in  this  country 
and  abroad,  reference  was  made  to  "extracts  from  over  ninety  re- 
ports of  committees,  bureaus  of  statistics,  commissioners  of  hygiene, 
inspectors  of  factories,  both  in  this  country  and  in  Europe,  to  the 
effect  that  long  hours  of  labor  are  dangerous  for  women,  primarily 
because  of  their  special  physical  organization.  The  matter  is  dis- 
cussed in  these  reports  in  different  aspects,  but  all  agree  as  to  the 
danger.  It  would,  of  course,  take  too  much  space  to  give  these 
reports  in  detail.  Following  them  are  extracts  from  similar  reports 
discussing  the  general  benefits  of  short  hours  from  an  economic 

224 


SUMMARY    AND   OUTLOOK 

This  array  of  authorities  the  court  found  con- 
vincing. The  relation  to  the  welfare  of  the  race 
of  legislation  enacted  to  protect  the  health  of 
women  was  thus  summed  up  by  the  court:  "That 
woman's  physical  structure  and  the  performance 
of  maternal  functions  place  her  at  a  disadvantage 
in  the  struggle  for  subsistence  is  obvious.  This  is 
especially  true  when  the  burdens  of  motherhood 
are  upon  her.  Even  when  they  are  not,  by  abun- 
dant testimony  of  the  medical  fraternity,  continu- 
ance for  a  long  time  on  her  feet  at  work,  repeating 
this  from  day  to  day,  tends  to  injurious  effects 
upon  the  body,  and  as  healthy  mothers  are  essen- 
tial to  vigorous  offspring,  the  physical  well-being 
of  woman  becomes  an  object  of  public  interest 
and  care  in  order  to  preserve  the  strength  and 
vigor  of  the  race."  The  court  held  "that  woman's 
physical  structure,  and  the  functions  she  performs 
in  consequence  thereof,  justify  special  legislation 
restricting  or  qualifying  the  conditions  under 
which  she  should  be  permitted  to  toil.  .  .  . 
.  .  .  We  take  judicial  cognizance  of  all  matters 
of  general  knowledge/'* 

aspect  of  the  question.  In  many  of  these  reports  individual  instances 
are  given  tending  to  support  the  general  conclusion.  Perhaps  the 
general  scope  and  character  of  all  these  reports  may  be  summed  up 
in  what  an  inspector  for  Hanover  says:  'The  reasons  for  the  reduc- 
tion of  the  working  day  to  ten  hours — (a)  the  physical  organization 
of  woman,  (b)  her  maternal  functions,  (c)  the  rearing  and  education 
of  the  children,  (d)  the  maintenance  of  the  home — are  all  so  impor- 
tant and  so  far-reaching  that  the  need  for  such  reduction  need  hardly 
be  discussed.' "  United  States  Reports,  Vol.  208.  Cases  adjudged 
in  the  Supreme  Court  at  October  term,  1907,  pp.  419-420.  New 
York,  The  Banks  Law  Publishing  Co.,  1908. 
*  Ibid.,  pp.  420,  42 1 . 

15  225 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

In  presenting  evidence  to  the  court  important 
use  was  made  of  the  results  of  laboratory  research 
into  the  physical  effect  of  fatigue,  as  a  sound  basis 
upon  which  to  enact  legislation.  Scientific  men 
in  many  countries  have  proved  beyond  question 
that  getting  tired  is  a  physiological  process  equiva- 
lent to  taking  poison  into  the  system.  The  poison 
is  eliminated  and  the  tissues  restored  only  by  a 
period  of  rest.  Furthermore,  rest  must  be  taken 
before  fatigue  has  become  so  great  as  to  result  in 
an  exhaustion  from  which  recovery  is  difficult. 
The  application  of  these  facts  to  the  regulation  of 
the  hours  of  work  of  women  in  industry  is  obvious. 
The  public  welfare  demands  that  work  shall  cease 
and  rest  be  permitted  before  the  worker  becomes 
exhausted.  No  enlightened  employer  of  women 
can  fail  to  welcome  the  scientific  conclusions 
already  reached  on  this  subject,  and  to  take  them 
into  consideration  in  determining  the  hours  of 
work  in  his  establishment. 

That  the  determination  of  a  definite  standard 
of  wages  is  likely  to  be  increasingly  sought  from 
now  on  is  indicated  by  such  state  action  as  the  re- 
cent passage  in  Massachusetts  of  a  bill  providing 
for  the  "voluntary"  establishment  of  minimum 
wage  boards.  For  this  purpose  a  permanent 
state  commission  has  been  appointed  and  its 
duties  thus  defined  in  the  law:* 

"  It  shall  be  the  duty  of  the  commission  to  inquire 
into  the  wages  paid  to  the  female  employes  in  any  oc- 
*  Massachusetts  Labor  Bulletin,  No.  92,  p.  58,  June,  1912. 
226 


SUMMARY   AND   OUTLOOK 

cupation  in  the  commonwealth,  if  the  commission  has 
reason  to  believe  that  the  wages  paid  to  a  substantial 
number  of  such  employes  are  inadequate  to  supply  the 
necessary  cost  of  living  and  to  maintain  the  worker  in 
health." 

If  the  inquiry  into  any  industry  should  convince 
the  commission  that  inadequate  wages  are  paid  to 
women,  a  minimum  wage  board  is  to  be  appointed, 
whose  members  shall  be  representatives  of  the 
general  public,  of  employers,  and  of  workers  in 
the  occupation  in  question.  This  board  is  to 
determine  the  minimum  wages  to  be  paid  to 
women  in  the  industry,  but  its  determinations 
are  to  be  recommendations  which  employers  are 
not  legally  bound  to  accept. 

This  law  is  indicative  of  a  growing  demand  for 
the  betterment  of  conditions,  a  demand  in  which 
all  classes  of  the  population  are  now  joining,  how- 
ever great  may  be  their  differences  of  opinion  as 
to  methods  of  reform.  Reports  of  the  meetings 
of  the  National  Association  of  Manufacturers 
show  their  interest  in  the  prevention  and  relief  of 
work-accidents,  in  a  comprehensive  plan  for  indus- 
trial education,  and  in  an  effort  to  bring  "manufac- 
turers in  every  department  of  industry  to  a  higher 
realization  of  their  social  responsibility  to  their 
employes  and  the  public."*  The  American  Fed- 
eration of  Labor  works  through  its  affiliated  unions 
in  many  trades  to  prohibit  the  employment  of 

*  National  Association  of  Manufacturers.  Report  of  Seventeenth 
Annual  Convention,  May,  1912. 

227 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

children  under  sixteen,  to  establish  an  eight-hour 
day  in  all  trades,  and  to  secure  a  living  wage  for 
every  worker.  State  legislatures  are  rapidly  fall- 
ing into  line  in  the  enactment  of  laws  regarding 
child  labor,  the  introduction  of  industrial  educa- 
tion in  public  schools,  the  regulation  of  the  hours 
of  work  of  women,  compensation  for  accidents,  and 
the  maintenance  of  sanitary  conditions  in  facto- 
ries. 

The  attitude  of  a  group  of  men  and  women 
whose  work  brings  them  into  close  contact  with 
social  and  industrial  conditions  throughout  the 
country,  is  also  significant.  In  June,  1912,  at 
the  National  Conference  of  Charities  and  Cor- 
rection, the  committee  on  standards  of  living  and 
labor  presented  a  platform  of  industrial  mini- 
mums.  This  declaration  dealt  with  wages,  hours, 
safety  and  health,  compensation  and  insurance, 
housing,  and  the  term  of  working  life.  A  living 
wage  was  the  first  plank,  and  it  was  defined  as  an 
amount  sufficient  "to  secure  the  elements  of  a 
normal  standard  of  living,  to  provide  for  educa- 
tion and  recreation,  to  care  for  immature  members 
of  the  family,  to  maintain  the  family  during  periods 
of  sickness  and  to  permit  of  reasonable  saving  for 
old  age/'*  The  platform  demanded  eight  hours 
as  the  maximum  working  day  for  women  and 
minors  in  all  industries,  an  uninterrupted  period 
of  at  least  eight  hours'  night  rest  for  all  women 
workers,  and  the  prohibition  of  the  employment 

*  The  Survey,  xxvm :  5 17  (July  6,  1912). 
228 


SUMMARY   AND   OUTLOOK 

of  children  under  sixteen  years  of  age  in  any  wage- 
earning  occupation.  Another  section  called  for 
the  prohibition  of  the  employment  of  women 
in  occupations  which  require  constant  standing. 
Of  irregular  employment,  the  platform  declared 
that  "any  industrial  occupation  subject  to  rush 
periods  and  out-of-work  seasons  should  be  con- 
sidered abnormal  and  subject  to  government  re- 
view and  regulation/'  These  provisions  were 
based  on  the  principle  that  with  knowledge  of  the 
facts  of  work  and  "the  recent  discoveries  of  physi- 
cians and  neurologists,  engineers  and  economists, 
the  public  can  formulate  minimum  occupational 
standards  below  which,  demonstrably,  work  is 
prosecuted  only  at  a  human  deficit." 

Within  a  few  weeks  after  this  conference  a  new 
political  party  adopted  an  industrial  platform 
containing  practically  the  same  planks.  Thus 
its  members  registered  their  conviction  that  the 
time  was  ripe  to  make  standards  like  these  a  party 
issue  with  a  wide  appeal  to  the  whole  people. 

All  these  expressions  of  opinion  of  manufac- 
turers, workers,  and  citizens  are  signs  of  the  times, 
a  promise  of  better  things  to  come  in  industry. 
Following  the  general  statement  of  principles, 
however,  is  the  more  difficult  task  of  applying 
these  principles  in  all  the  various  fields  of  em- 
ployment into  which  the  world's  work  is  divided. 
For  this  application,  detailed  studies  must  be 
made  of  conditions  in  each  occupation.  Reform 
must  necessarily  come  not  in  industry  as  a  whole, 

229 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

but  trade  by  trade,  since  that  is  the  way  economic 
life  is  organized.  Moreover,  each  trade  has  its 
peculiar  problems. 

To  establish  proper  standards  in  the  bookbind- 
ing trade  would  require  certain  definite  changes, 
which  may  be  thus  summarized: 

Prohibition  of  the  employment  of  children  under 
sixteen. 

Careful  supervision  of  learners  to  insure 
thorough  training. 

Co-operation  with  the  public  schools  in  efforts 
to  supply  additional  opportunities  to  those  who 
have  left  school  at  the  age  of  sixteen. 

Limitation  of  the  hours  of  work  of  all  women  to 
eight  in  a  day,  without  permitting  overtime. 

Provision  for  a  definite  rest  period  of  at  least 
eight  hours  during  the  night  for  all  women,  irre- 
spective of  age. 

Planning  the  work  so  as  to  obviate  the  ill  effects 
due  to  specialized  tasks  and  to  guard  against  the 
dangers  peculiar  to  the  trade.* 

Provisions  for  adequate  light,  ventilation,  and 

*  By  allowing  change  of  occupation  and  posture,  by  providing 
chairs  with  backs,  and,  if  high,  with  foot-rests,  by  employing  porters 
to  carry  the  heavy  sheets  from  one  part  of  the  workroom  to  another, 
and  by  so  adjusting  the  height  of  the  work-tables  to  the  height  of 
the  chairs  as  to  make  it  possible  for  hand  workers  to  sit  at  work 
without  loss  of  the  speed  on  which  their  earnings  depend;  by  cover- 
ing the  stock  to  prevent  accumulation  of  dust,  by  so  placing  the 
books  and  paper  as  not  to  obstruct  ventilation,  by  sprinkling  the 
floor  before  sweeping  every  day,  or  by  using  vacuum  cleaners,  by 
guarding  machines  likely  to  injure  the  hands  or  fingers,  by  doing 
away  with  the  use  of  foot  pedals,  and  by  requiring  that  machines  be 
constructed  in  such  a  way  as  to  make  stooping  unnecessary,  and  to 
permit  the  operator  to  sit  at  work. 

230 


SUMMARY   AND   OUTLOOK 

space  in  the  workroom  and  dressing  rooms,  and 
for  proper  toilet  facilities. 

Protection  against  fire  assured. 

Resolute  efforts  to  prevent  unemployment,  and 
to  steady  the  seasons. 

Payment  of  adequate  wages,  with  full  recogni- 
tion of  the  fact  that  the  public  welfare  requires  a 
living  wage  for  every  worker. 

To  raise  all  binderies  to  the  level  here  indicated 
will  require  the  co-operation  of  employers,  work- 
ers, and  the  public.  That  the  suggestions  are 
practicable  is  proved  by  the  fact  that  almost  every 
one  of  them  has  been  tried  to  some  degree  in  at 
least  one  bindery  in  New  York.  No  establish- 
ment combines  them  all.  The  whole  trade  cannot 
be  suddenly  transformed,  but  a  few  important 
changes  which  would  mark  a  decided  advance 
should  now  be  made  general  throughout  the  trade 
by  means  of  legislation. 

No  revolutionary  reforms  are  necessary  to  make 
state  intervention  practicable.  To  strengthen  the 
present  laws  regarding  women's  work  in  factories 
in  New  York,  and  to  enforce  them  strictly,  would 
markedly  improve  conditions  in  the  bookbinding 
trade. 

Many  persons  now  believe  that  the  employment 
of  children  under  sixteen  ought  to  be  prohibited 
in  any  occupation,  and  especially  in  connection 
with  machines,  or  in  lifting  or  carrying  heavy 
weights.  It  seems  obvious  that  a  child  of  four- 
teen or  fifteen  should  not  be  employed  for  such 

231 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

heavy  work  as  that  required  in  binding  books. 
In  any  case,  the  present  legal  provision  requiring 
that  no  employment  certificate  shall  be  issued 
unless  the  child  "is  in  sound  health  and  is  physi- 
cally able  to  perform  the  work  which  it  intends  to 
do"  should  be  more  actively  enforced. 

The  law  regarding  the  hours  of  work  of  women 
ought  to  be  amended  for  the  benefit  not  only  of 
bindery  women  but  of  all  women  at  work  in  facto- 
ries. Night  work  should  be  prohibited  in  order 
to  assure  an  adequate  rest  period  in  every  twenty- 
four  hours,  and  to  make  possible  the  strict  en- 
forcement of  the  fifty-four-hour  law.  The  excep- 
tion to  the  nine-hour  law  permitting  a  maximum 
working  day  of  ten  hours  should  be  repealed. 
Prosecutions  should  be  in  a  reasonable  ratio  to  the 
number  of  violations,  in  order  to  prove  to  em- 
ployers that  the  law  is  alive.  Public  opinion 
should  express  itself  strongly  enough  to  reach  the 
magistrates'  courts,  in  order  that  the  results  of 
convictions  may  not  be  nullified  by  an  unwise 
use  of  the  suspended  sentence. 

A  sufficient  number  of  medical  inspectors 
should  be  appointed  to  begin  the  collection  of 
data  on  which  to  base  extensive  legislation  for  the 
protection  of  the  health  of  working  women.  In- 
sufficient ventilation,  dusty  floors,  dusty  stock, 
and  all  other  unwholesome  workroom  conditions 
should  be  corrected  by  definite  laws  scientifically 
determined,  and  not  weakened,  as  at  present,  by 


232 


SUMMARY    AND   OUTLOOK 

provisions  giving  inspectors  discretionary  power 
in  such  vital  decisions. 

Legislation,  however,  is  not  sufficient  without 
provision  for  inspection  of  workrooms  and  strict 
enforcement  of  law.  The  state  labor  department, 
charged  with  this  task  of  enforcement,  must  be 
well  organized  and  supplied  with  an  adequate 
number  of  carefully  chosen  inspectors.  The 
force  of  women  inspectors  should  be  increased 
especially  to  look  after  the  welfare  of  women  work- 
ers. Undoubtedly  they  could  secure  from  women 
employes  evidence  of  violation  of  the  laws  more 
readily  than  is  possible  for  men  inspectors.  On 
the  efficiency  of  the  labor  department  depends  the 
success  of  the  state's  effort  to  protect  the  health 
of  women  workers. 

The  chief  task  is  to  bring  home  the  sense  of  re- 
sponsibility to  those  who  have  the  power  to  deter- 
mine conditions.  The  fact  that  more  than  half  the 
bindery  workers  in  New  York  City  are  employed  in 
less  than  10  per  cent  of  the  binderies  indicates  the 
power  of  a  few  employers  and  their  responsibility  for 
the  welfare  of  women  in  the  trade.  It  is  in  the  large 
binderies,  however,  that  members  of  the  firm  who 
have  the  power  to  make  improvements  have  the 
least  knowledge  of  the  conditions  of  employment 
in  their  establishments.  They  appoint  a  super- 
intendent whom  they  hold  responsible  for  two 
main  results, — economy  in  running  his  depart- 
ment and  satisfactory  workmanship.  An  investi- 
gator in  search  of  facts  about  wages,  hours,  and 

233 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

seasons  soon  learns  to  seek  out  the  superintendent 
or  the  foreman  rather  than  the  head  of  the  firm, 
whose  knowledge  of  these  vital  facts  is  likely  to  be 
very  hazy.  No  marked  change  in  conditions  will 
be  possible  until  the  men  at  the  top  require  super- 
intendents to  look  after  the  health  and  comfort  of 
their  employes,  and  to  pay  them  decent  wages. 
If  the  small  group  of  important  bookbinding  firms 
of  New  York  would  positively  adopt  this  practice, 
they  would  benefit  at  once  more  than  half  the 
workers  in  the  trade.  They  would  also  set  an  ex- 
ample which  would  have  its  influence  on  other 
establishments. 

But  a  firm  and  its  superintendent  cannot  meet 
the  problems  single-handed.  In  regulating  labor 
conditions  they  are  dealing  with  vital  human 
issues,  which  cannot  be  determined  by  hard-and- 
fast  methods.  Good  team  work  depends  upon  a 
spirit  of  fellowship.  The  worker's  loyalty  to  the 
firm  and  his  interest  in  good  workmanship  can 
be  secured  only  if  it  be  possible  for  employer 
and  employe  to  meet  in  a  democratic  way  for 
discussion  of  conditions  which  cannot  be  wisely 
determined  if  the  point  of  view  of  either  be  dis- 
regarded. As  conditions  grow  more  complex  this 
exchange  of  ideas  also  grows  more  complicated. 
The  trade  union  has  developed  to  give  organized 
expression  to  the  interests  of  employes.  It  gives 
the  workers  who  are  active  in  it  a  broader  view 
of  trade  conditions  than  their  personal  experience 
alone  could  afford.  It  is  a  means  of  securing 

234 


SUMMARY   AND   OUTLOOK 

the  adoption  by  many  firms  of  the  standards 
accepted  by  a  few. 

Both  employers  and  workmen,  however,  are  at 
the  service  of  the  man  who  gives  them  orders, 
whether  he  be  a  private  customer,  a  printer,  or  a 
publisher.  The  unreasonable  demands  of  these 
customers  are  too  often  responsible  for  deplorable 
conditions  of  employment.  Overtime  work  and 
slack  season  are  both  traceable  to  the  publisher. 
When  this  responsibility  is  clearly  recognized,  it 
will  be  reasonable  to  expect  publishers  to  take 
effective  action  to  meet  some  of  the  problems  of 
bindery  work.  Through  books  and  articles  on 
industrial  topics,  publishers  of  books  and  editors  of 
magazines  are  trying  to  improve  industrial  con- 
ditions. To  apply  the  teaching  of  these  books 
and  articles  to  the  binderies  where  they  are  bound 
would  be  a  practical  demonstration  of  great  value. 

But  employer,  worker,  and  customer  are  not 
the  only  persons  responsible.  While  conditions  in 
the  best  binderies  in  New  York  show  the  prac- 
ticability of  reasonable  standards,  the  contrasts 
cited  in  other  binderies  indicate  quite  as  clearly 
the  danger  of  leaving  standard-making  to  the  in- 
dividual employer.  Enlightened  employers  will 
keep  ahead  of  community  action,  but  the  commu- 
nity must  see  to  it  that  none  shall  fall  below  the 
minimum  conditions  required  for  the  health  of 
the  workers. 

Furthermore,  the  interest  of  the  community 
should  make  possible  a  just  balance  between  the 

235 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

demands  of  worker  and  employer.  The  worker 
aims  to  secure  higher  wages  to  make  possible  a  bet- 
ter standard  of  living.  The  employer  is  anxious  to 
keep  down  expenses.  The  public  interest  would 
combine  and  balance  these  two  views,  pointing 
out  that  production  cheapened  at  the  expense  of 
decent  living  conditions  for  the  workers  in  reality 
costs  too  much.  Without  such  a  balance  as  the 
community  alone  can  give,  there  is  too  often 
blind  conflict  of  interests  instead  of  a  just  and 
reasonable  adoption  of  proper  standards.  Public 
interest  is  the  vital  factor  needed  to  focus  atten- 
tion on  conditions  of  employment  and  to  establish 
throughout  the  trade  the  standards  which  are 
essential  to  the  health  and  happiness  of  thousands 
of  working  girls.  The  task  is  large  and  complex, 
but  it  is  also  an  encouraging  one.  It  challenges 
the  best  thought  and  effort  of  reader,  writer, 
binder,  printer,  publisher,  and  worker. 


236 


APPENDICES 


APPENDIX  A 

OUTLINE  OF  INVESTIGATION 

Three  record  cards*  5  x  8  inches  in  size  were  used  in  the 
field  work,  one  for  the  record  of  a  worker,  one  for  the 
record  of  a  workshop,  and  one  for  the  worker's  report 
of  conditions  in  the  shop  in  which  she  was  employed. 

The  card  designed  for  the  record  of  a  worker  pro- 
vided information  on  three  large  subjects, — personal 
history  and  living  conditions,  education,  and  work. 
The  investigation  of  personal  history  and  living  con- 
ditions included  such  facts  as: 

Nativity,  and  date  of  birth. 

Relationship  to  head  of  family,  indicating  whether  the 

girl  was  boarding  or  living  at  home. 
If  living  at  home, 

nativity  of  father  and  mother,  and  the  dates  when  they 
came  to  New  York  City; 

number  and  ages  of  children  at  home; 

other  persons  living  with  family; 

other  wage-earners  in  family,  their  occupations  and 
weekly  earnings; 

condition  of  apartment,  number  of  rooms,  and  rent. 
If  boarding,  where  and  at  what  cost. 
Disposition  of  earnings,  amount  given  to  home,  weekly 

carfare,  and  yearly  savings. 

Membership  in  organizations, — trade  union,  church,  and 
club. 

*  See  facsimiles  of  card  records,  pp.  245  to  248. 
239 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

The  information  sought  regarding  the  worker's 
schooling  included: 

Last  day  school  attended,  place,  date  of  leaving,  and 
grade  reached. 

Trade  or  technical  school  attended,  courses  taken,  and 
dates  of  attendance.  This  was  interpreted  broadly  to 
include  any  supplementary  education,  such  as  courses 
in  public  evening  schools,  or  in  business  schools. 

The  investigation  of  the  girl's  work  history  included 
the  following  data: 

Age  at  beginning  work. 

Weeks  out  of  work  in  the  past  year,  and  the  reasons  for  this 
loss  of  time. 

Comparison  of  regularity  of  employment  in  the  past  twelve 
months  and  in  the  preceding  year. 

Training  received  in  a  bindery,  by  whom  given,  kind  of 
work  assigned,  and  length  of  time  required. 

Trade  career,  with  a  record  of  each  position  in  chrono- 
logical order,  stating  dates  employed,  time  held,  name 
and  address  of  firm,  trade,  kind  of  work  done  by  the  girl 
interviewed,  weekly  wages,  how  the  position  was  found, 
reason  for  leaving,  and  the  time  idle  after  leaving. 

More  detailed  information  was  then  secured  regard- 
ing conditions  in  binderies  in  which  the  worker  had 
•been  employed  recently  enough  to  insure  accuracy. 
This  material,  recorded  on  a  card  to  be  filed  under  the 
firm  name,  afforded  a  valuable  basis  for  the  investiga- 
tion of  establishments.  The  data  gathered  on  this 
card  included,  besides  the  name  and  address  of  the 
firm: 

Name  and  address  of  the  worker  and  the  dates  of  her  em- 
ployment in  this  bindery. 
240 


OUTLINE   OF   INVESTIGATION 

Kind  of  work  done  by  her. 

Posture  at  work  in  these  various  occupations. 

Weekly  wages. 

Fines  imposed  or  any  charges  made  for  supplies. 

Weeks  out  of  work  in  past  year,  or  during  the  time  of  em- 
ployment here,  if  it  had  been  less  than  a  year. 

Hours  of  labor,  including  time  of  beginning  work  in  the 
morning,  time  of  ending  work  in  the  evening,  length  of 
noon  recess,  Saturday  working  hours,  and  total  hours  of 
labor  daily  and  weekly. 

Overtime,  with  full  information  regarding  number  of 
evenings  of  overtime  in  a  week,  closing  hour,  time  al- 
lowed for  supper,  total  daily  and  weekly  hours  inclusive 
of  overtime,  rate  of  pay  for  extra  work,  and  the  season 
of  the  year  when  the  hours  of  labor  are  thus  prolonged. 

Home  work,*  if  any,  kind,  hours  spent  on  it  and  earnings. 

Workroom  conditions,  lighting,  lunch-room  privileges, 
kind  of  dressing  room  provided,  and  cleanliness  of 
toilets. 

In  interviewing  an  employer  the  same  kind  of  in- 
formation was  sought,  but  covering  the  whole  estab- 
lishment rather  than  the  conditions  that  affect  a  single 
worker.  The  information  asked  of  employers  was  as 
follows: 

Kind  of  work  done  by  women,  with  a  description  of  the 
nature  of  the  processes,  posture  required  of  the  worker, 
and  the  qualities  needed  to  make  her  successful,  whether 
neatness,  strength,  experience,  speed  or  skill. 

General  range  of  weekly  wages  for  each  process,  and 
whether  calculated  according  to  piece  or  time.  The 
tendency  here  was  to  state  the  best  possible  wages  for 
each  class  of  work. 

*  These  card  records  were  all  designed  for  investigation  of  other 
trades  as  well  as  bookbinding.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  home  work  given 
out  by  binderies  is  very  rare. 

16  241 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

Total  normal  force  of  women  employed,  and  minimum  age. 

Employer's  opinion  of  the  desirability  of  trade  school 
training  for  this  work. 

Seasons,  including  time  of  employment  of  the  maximum 
force  of  women  and  the  usual  number  employed  during 
that  season;  time  of  employment  of  minimum  force  and 
the  number  at  work  then. 

Hours  of  labor,  in  detail,  normally  and  when  working  over- 
time. 

Home  work,  if  any;  number  of  workers  and  kind,  whether 
families,  contractors,  or  institutions. 

Workroom  conditions,  lighting,  ventilation,  space  for 
workers  and  cleanliness. 

The  following  record  of  one  of  the  girls  interviewed 
will  best  illustrate  the  sort  of  information  which  we 
were  seeking  and  the  method  of  securing  it.  She  was 
employed  in  a  bindery  in  which  conditions  were  un- 
usually good. 

We  shall  call  her  Mary  Brown  and  give  her  address  as  142 
Greenwich  Avenue,  New  York,  third  floor,  back,  south.  An 
investigator  visited  her  home  one  afternoon  and  talked  with 
her  grandmother  and  her  sister,  who  was  also  a  worker  in  a 
bindery.  In  the  evening  the  visitor  returned  and  talked  with 
the  girl  herself.  This  gave  an  opportunity  to  check  and 
verify  the  statements  made  in  the  earlier  interview.  The 
girl  had  left  the  fifth  grade  of  a  public  school  in  1905,  three 
years  before  she  would  have  graduated.  She  had  been 
enrolled  in  a  public  evening  school  in  two  successive  terms, 
once  in  the  "regular  course,"  and  once  in  a  dressmaking 
class,  but  she  did  not  stay  through  the  term  in  either  class. 
She  went  to  work  at  the  age  of  fourteen,  working  a  year  as 
cash  girl  in  a  department  store,  first  receiving  a  weekly  wage 
of  $3.00  and  later  $3.50.  Her  older  sister  who  had  worked  in 

242 


OUTLINE   OF    INVESTIGATION 

the  same  store  found  the  "job"  for  her.  Mary  left  because 
there  was  "no  chance  to  advance." 

A  friend  found  her  work  in  October,  1906,  in  the  Western 
Bindery,  where  large  editions  of  books  were  bound.  As  a 
learner,  she  folded  sheets  by  hand  and  emptied  boxes.  The 
other  girls  showed  her  how  to  do  the  work.  There  was  no 
definite  time  of  learning.  In  three  and  a  half  years,  how- 
ever, she  had  had  only  an  occasional  opportunity  to  try  to 
operate  a  machine,  and  her  weekly  earnings  had  been  increased 
only  from  $3.50  to  $5.50.  Her  employment  had  been  steady 
during  the  past  twelve  months.  In  the  preceding  year  she 
had  been  without  work  or  wages  two  weeks  when  the  firm  had 
moved. 

Her  grandmother  was  the  head  of  the  household.  The 
mother  was  dead,  and  the  father  had  deserted  his  family. 
Every  member  of  the  family  had  been  born  in  New  York. 
There  were  five  girls  at  home,  ranging  in  age  from  twelve  to 
twenty-two  years.  The  other  wage-earners  were  three 
sisters.  One  was  a  learner  in  a  bindery,  earning  $3.50  a  week. 
Another  worked  in  a  hotel  laundry,  earning  $7.00  a  week. 
The  third  was  out  of  work  at  the  date  of  the  visit.  She  also 
had  been  working  in  a  hotel  laundry  but  the  steam  made  her 
ill.  The  combined  earnings  of  the  three  girls  at  work  were 
$16  a  week.  An  uncle  sent  them  $10  a  month.  The  grand- 
mother, although  nearly  blind,  did  the  housework,  and 
managed  to  make  ends  meet.  The  six  members  of  the  family 
lived  in  four  rooms  in  a  tenement  built  since  the  New  York 
housing  law  has  demanded  a  certain  minimum  of  light  and  air. 

Mary  gave  all  her  earnings  to  her  grandmother,  who 
returned  to  her  small  sums  needed  for  clothes  and  incidental 
expenses.  She  walked  to  work  and  carried  her  lunch,  so  spent 
no  money  for  carfare  or  lunches.  She  was  a  member  of  the 
Roman  Catholic  Church.  She  belonged  to  no  club,  nor  had 
she  joined  the  union  in  the  bookbinding  trade.  Her  name 
had  been  given  to  the  investigator  by  another  girl  employed 
in  the  Western  Bindery.  In  the  same  visits,  a  similar  record 

243 


WOMEN    IN    THE    BOOKBINDING   TRADE 

was  secured  of  the  trade  history  of  Mary's  younger  sister  who 
was  a  learner  in  the  bookbinding  trade. 

The  facts  which  Mary  gave  about  the  Western  Bindery 
were  recorded  on  another  card  and  filed  under  the  name  of  the 
bindery.  Her  chief  work  was  to  empty  the  boxes  into  which 
the  folded  sheets  were  dropped  by  the  machine.  Frequent 
stooping  was  necessary  and  the  work  was  very  tiring.  She 
had  been  fined  for  being  late  but  was  "only  scolded,"  not 
fined,  for  spoiling  sheets.  Her  work  had  been  steady.  Her 
working  hours  were  from  8  a.m.  to  4:30  p.m.,  with  a  half  hour 
at  noon,  eight  hours  daily,  forty-eight  weekly.  In  summer 
she  worked  from  8  a.m.  to  5:20  p.m.,  in  order  to  stop  work  on 
Saturday  at  twelve  noon.  In  busy  season  she  had  worked 
overtime  once  a  week  only,  and  then  not  later  than  7  o'clock, 
a  ten-and-a-half-hour  day.  Some  of  the  older  girls  stayed 
two  evenings  a  week.  These  hours  represented  unusually 
good  conditions.  She  had  never  taken  any  work  home. 
There  was  no  lunch  room.  The  girls  ate  their  lunches  in  the 
workroom,  and  made  tea  on  a  gas  stove  in  the  dressing  room. 

A  month  later  the  investigator  visited  the  bindery  and 
asked  questions  to  verify  and  supplement  the  information 
given  by  this  worker,  concerning  the  kind  of  work  done  by 
women,  weekly  wages,  training  of  learners,  desirability  of 
trade  school  training,  methods  of  securing  workers,  seasons 
of  employment,  hours  of  work,  overtime,  home  work,  and  the 
conditions  in  the  workroom.  Mary  was  at  work  in  the 
bindery  at  the  time  of  the  visit,  and  her  statements  about 
processes  of  work  were  found  to  be  correct. 


244 


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5 


APPENDIX  B 

SUPPLEMENTARY  STATISTICS 

The  following  statistics  were  secured  from  card 
records  filled  by  working  girls  attending  public  evening 
schools  in  New  York  City  in  the  winter  of  1910-11. 
The  figures  show  certain  facts  about  the  schooling  of 
women  employed  in  bookbinding  compared  with  those 
at  work  in  all  trades.  A  total  of  4,5 19  records  of  women 
in  all  trades  were  tabulated,  but  the  number  varies  in 
different  tables.  The  largest  number,  3,917,  appears  in 
Table  B;  on  this  point,  "last  day  school  attended/' 
602  did  not  supply  information.  In  compiling  all  the 
other  tables,  we  omitted  827  records  of  girls  attending 
two  schools  from  which  data  on  these  points  were 
insufficient  for  tabulation.  Of  the  remaining  3,692 
records  tabulated,  842  did  not  supply  information  for 
Table  C,  and  603  did  not  supply  information  for  Table 
D.  Among  the  3,692  women,  66  of  the  2,094  whose 
last  attendance  was  in  New  York  public  day  schools, 
and  who  were,  therefore,  considered  in  Table  E,  did  not 
supply  information  on  this  point.  In  considering  the 
rate  of  progress  in  school,  the  tabulation  was  limited  to 
a  group  of  1,562  who  had  attended  New  York  public 
schools  only.  Of  these,  145  did  not  supply  information 
for  Table  G,  and  163  for  Table  H. 

249 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 


TABLE  A.— SCHOOLS  PREVIOUSLY  ATTENDED  BY  142 
WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING  AND  BY 
3,692  WOMEN  IN  ALL  TRADES  ATTENDING  PUBLIC 
EVENING  SCHOOLS,  NEW  YORK  CITY,  1910-1911* 


SCHOOLS  PREVIOUSLY  ATTENDED 

WOMEN  IN 
BOOKBINDING 

WOMEN  IN 
ALL  TRADES 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

New  York  City  public  schools 
Private,     parochial,    or   corporate 
schools  in  New  York  City 
Schools  in  the  United  States,  out- 
side New  York  City    . 
Schools  in  foreign  countries  . 
None         

92 
64 

4 
4 

65 
45 

3 
3 

2,184 
630 

1  80 
845 
34 

59 

'7 

5 
23 

i 

aOf  the  144  women  employed  in  bookbinding,  2  did  not  supply 
information  on  this  point.  As  some  of  these  women  had  attended 
schools  of  two  or  more  different  types  the  figures  in  the  table  add 
to  totals  larger  than  the  number  of  women  from  whom  information 
was  secured. 

TABLE  B.— LAST  DAY  SCHOOL  ATTENDED  BY  WOMEN 
EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING  AND  BY  WOMEN 
IN  ALL  TRADES  ATTENDING  PUBLIC  EVENING 
SCHOOLS,  NEW  YORK  CITY,  1910-1911a 


LAST  DAY  SCHOOL  ATTENDED 

WOMEN  IN 
BOOKBINDING 

WOMEN  IN 
ALL  TRADES 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

Number^ 

Per 
Cent 

~& 

12 

3 
24 

5 

New  York  City  public  schools  . 
Private,     parochial,    or     corporate 
schools  in  New  York  City 
Schools  in  the  United  States,  outside 
New  York  City        .... 
Schools  in  foreign  countries 
None      

85 

47 

i 
4 

62 

34 

i 
3 

2,213 
476 

103 

937 

1  88 

Total      

'37 

100 

3.917 

100 

aOf  144  women  employed  in  bookbinding,  7  did  not  supply  in- 
formation on  this  point. 

t>The  inconsistencies  between  the  figures  of  this  column  and  the 
figures  of  the  corresponding  column  of  table  A,  are  due  to  a  differ- 
ence in  the  number  of  women  who  supplied  information.  See  intro- 
ductory note  to  Appendix  B. 

250 


SUPPLEMENTARY    STATISTICS 


TABLE  C— YEARS  OF  ATTENDANCE  AT  DAY  SCHOOL  OF 
WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING  AND  OF 
WOMEN  IN  ALL  TRADES  ATTENDING  PUBLIC 
EVENING  SCHOOLS,  NEW  YORK  CITY,  1910-1911a 


YEARS  IN  SCHOOL 

WOMEN  IN 
BOOKBINDING 

WOMEN  IN 
ALL  TRADES 

Number 

Per 

Cent 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

Less  than  5  years         .... 
5  years  and  less  than  6  years     . 
6  years  and  less  than  7  years     . 
7  years  and  less  than  8  years     .       „ 
8  years  and  less  than  9  years     . 
9  years  and  less  than  10  years  . 
10  years  or  more  ..... 
None      

i 

4 

7 

% 

24 
8 

I 

20 

45 

'I 

212 

135 
270 

585 
958 
446 
210 

34 

7 
5 
9 

21 

M 

7 

i 

Total      

125 

IOO 

2,850 

IOO 

aOf  144  women  employed   in   bookbinding,  19  did  not  supply 
information  on  this  point. 

TABLE  D.— AGE  AT  LEAVING  DAY  SCHOOL  OF  WOMEN 
EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING  AND  OF  WOMEN 
IN  ALL  TRADES  ATTENDING  PUBLIC  EVENING 
SCHOOLS,  NEW  YORK  CITY,  1910-1911a 


AGE  AT  LEAVING  SCHOOL 

WOMEN  IN 
BOOKBINDING 

WOMEN  IN 
ALL  TRADES 

Number 

Per 

Cent 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

17 
48 

23 
8 

2 

I 
I 

Under  14  years     
14  years  and  under  15  years 
15  years  and  under  16  years 
1  6  years  and  under  17  years 
17  years  and  under  18  years 
18  years  or  over  
Never  attended  school 

33 

10 
2 

I 

ii 
53 
25 

2 

''708 
244 

11 

34 

Total      

128 

IOO 

3,089 

IOO 

aOf  144  women  employed  in  bookbinding,  16  did  not  supply  in- 
formation on  this  point. 

251 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

TABLE  E.— GRADE  AT  LEAVING  NEW  YORK  PUBLIC  DAY 
SCHOOLS  OF  WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING 
AND  OF  WOMEN  IN  ALL  TRADES  ATTENDING 
PUBLIC  EVENING  SCHOOLS,  NEW  YORK  CITY,  1910- 
1911a 


GRADE  AT  LEAVING  SCHOOL 

WOMEN  IN 
BOOKBINDING 

WOMEN  IN 
ALL  TRADES 

Number 

Per 

Cent 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

Below  the  fifth  grade  .... 
Fifth      
Sixth      
Seventh         
Eighth   
Graduate'of  elementary  school  . 
High  school  (not  graduates) 
High  school  graduates 

3 

2 

14 
21 

18 
18 
6 

3 

2 

18 
26 

22 
22 
7 

78 
197 

393 
527 
197 
499 
133 
4 

4 
10 

'9 

26 

10 
24 
7 

Total      

82 

100 

2,028 

100 

aOf  85  women  employed  in  bookbinding,  whose  last  attendance 
was  in  New  York  public  day  schools,  3  did  not  supply  information 
on  this  point. 


TABLE  F—  PREVIOUS  ATTENDANCE  AT  NEW  YORK  PUB- 
LIC DAY  SCHOOLS  ONLY,  AND  AT  OTHER  SCHOOLS 
OF  WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING  AND  OF 
WOMEN  IN  ALL  TRADES,  ATTENDING  PUBLIC 
EVENING  SCHOOLS,  NEW  YORK  CITY,  1910-1911* 


ATTENDANCE  AT 

WOMEN  IN 
BOOKBINDING 

WOMEN  IN 
ALL  TRADES 

Number 

Per 

Cent 

Number 

Per 

Cent 

New  York  public  schools  only  . 
Other  schools       

66 
76 

46 

54 

1,562 
2,130 

42 
58 

Total      

142 

IOO 

3,692 

IOO 

aOf  144  women  employed  in  bookbinding,  2  did  not  supply  in- 
formation on  this  point. 

252 


SUPPLEMENTARY   STATISTICS 


TABLE  G.— YEARS  OF  ATTENDANCE  IN  PUBLIC  DAY 
SCHOOLS  OF  WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING 
AND  OF  WOMEN  IN  ALLTRADES,  ATTENDING  PUBLIC 
EVENING  SCHOOLS,  NEW  YORK  CITY,  1910-1911* 


WOMEN  IN 

WOMEN  IN 

YEARS  OF  ATTENDANCE  IN  NEW 

BOOKBINDING 

ALL  TRADES 

YORK  PUBLIC  DAY  SCHOOLS 

Number 

Per 

Cent 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

Less  than  6  years        .... 

89 

6 

6  years  and  less  than  7  years     . 

4 

7 

137 

10 

7  years  and  less  than  8  years     . 

13 

22 

319 

22 

8  years  and  less  than  9  years     . 

26 

45 

578 

41 

9  years  or  over     

15 

26 

294 

21 

Total      

58 

100 

1,417 

IOO 

aThis  table  relates  to  women  who  attended  New  York  City  public 
schools  only.  Of  66  women  employed  in  bookbinding,  who  attended 
New  York  public  schools  only,  8  did  not  supply  information  on  this 
point. 

TABLE  H.— PROGRESS  IN  PUBLIC  DAY  SCHOOLS  OF 
WOMEN  EMPLOYED  IN  BOOKBINDING  AND  OF 
WOMEN  IN  ALL  TRADES,  ATTENDING  PUBLIC 
EVENING  SCHOOLS,  NEW  YORK  CITY,  1910-1911* 


PROGRESS 

WOMEN  IN 
BOOKBINDING 

WOMEN  IN 
ALL  TRADES 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

Number 

Per 
Cent 

Rapid     
Normal  
Slow       

5 

12 
40 

9 

21 
70 

206 
369 
824 

15 
26 

59 

Total      

57 

IOO 

1,399 

IOO 

aThis  table  relates  to  women  who  attended  New  York  City  public 
schools  only.  Of  66  women  employed  in  bookbinding,  who  attended 
New  York  City  public  schools  only,  9  did  not  supply  information  on 
this  point.  The  rate  of  progress  was  measured  by  the  number  of 
years  required  to  reach  the  grade  in  which  the  pupil  was  enrolled  at 
the  time  of  leaving  school,  allowing  one  year  to  each  grade.  For 
example,  a  pupil  who  had  attended  school  six  years  was  rated  as 
"normal"  if  she  had  reached  grade  6  B  or  7  A,  "slow"  if  she  were  in 
a  lower  grade,  and  "rapid"  if  she  were  in  a  higher  grade. 

253 


WOMEN    IN   THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 


TABLE   I.— HOURS   AT    WHICH  WOMEN    EMPLOYED    IN 
BOOKBINDING  BEGIN  WORKa 


Hour  of  Beginning 
Work 

WOMEN  BEGINNING  WORK  AT  SPECIFIED 
TIME  IN 

Edition  and 
Pamphlet  Bind- 
eries Employing 
50  or  more 
Women 

All  Other 
Binderies 

All 
Binderies 

Num- 
ber 

Per 
Cent 

Num- 
ber 

Per 

Cent 

Num- 
ber 

Per 
Cent 

7  130  and  before  8  a.  m. 
8  and  before  8:30  a.  m. 
8:30  and  before  9  a.  m. 
At  9  a.  m.   . 

525 
2,298 

210 

% 

7 

.65 
'.532 
303 
35 

8 
75 
15 

2 

690 
3,830 
513 
35 

14 
75 

10 

i 

Total    .       .       . 

3.033 

100      2,035 

100 

5,068 

IOO 

a  Of  the  5,689  women  employed  in  binderies  supplying  any  infor- 
mation regarding  hours,  621  were  in  establishments  which  did  not 
state  time  of  beginning  work. 

TABLE  J—  LENGTH   OF  NOON    RECESS  OF  WOMEN  EM- 
PLOYED IN  BOOKBINDING* 


WOMEN  HAVING  SPECIFIED  LENGTH  OF 
NOON  RECESS  IN 


Edition  and 

Length  of  Noon  Recess 

Pampblet  Bind- 
eries Employing 
50  or  more 

All  Other 
Binderies 

All 
Binderies 

Women 

Num- 

Per 

Num- 

Per 

Num- 

Per 

ber 

Cent 

ber 

Cent 

ber 

Cent 

30    minutes     and    less 

than  45   . 

2,243 

74 

1.533 

73 

3.776 

74 

45  and  less  than  60    . 
60  minutes. 

390 

400 

13 
13 

184 
37i 

9 

18 

574 

771 

1  1 

15 

Total    .       .        . 

3.033 

IOO 

2,088 

IOO 

5.  121 

IOO 

a  Of  the  5,689  women  employed  in  binderies  supplying  any  infor- 
mation regarding  hours,  568  were  in  establishments  which  did  not 
state  length  of  noon  recess. 

254 


SUPPLEMENTARY    STATISTICS 

TABLE   K.— HOURS    AT  WHICH  WOMEN   EMPLOYED   IN 

BOOKBINDING    LEAVE    WORK,    WHEN    NOT 

WORKING  OVERTIME* 


WOMEN  LEAVING  WORK  AT  SPECIFIED 

HOURS  IN 

Edition  and 

Hour  of  Leaving  Work 

Pamphlet  Bind- 
eries Employing 
50  or  more 

All  Other 
Binderies 

All 
Binderies 

Women 

Num- 

Per 

Num- 

Per 

Num- 

Per 

ber 

Cent 

ber 

Cent 

ber 

Cent 

Before  5  p.  m.    . 

428 

14 

69 

3 

497 

10 

5  p.  m.  and  before  5:30 

p.  m. 

1,625 

52 

493 

24 

2,118 

4i 

5  130  p.  m.  and  before  6 

p.  m. 

1,  080 

34 

1,164 

5t7 

2,244 

43 

6  p.  m. 

•• 

321 

16 

321 

6 

Total    . 

3.'33 

100 

2,047 

100 

5,180 

100 

a  Of  5,689  women  employed  in  binderies  supplying  any  information 
regarding  hours,  509  were  in  establishments  which  did  not  state 
the  hour  of  leaving  work. 


255 


APPENDIX  C 

SIXTY-HOUR   RESTRICTION   ON   THE    EM- 
PLOYMENT OF  WOMEN  IN  FACTORIES 
IN   NEW  YORK   STATE    HELD 
TO  BE  CONSTITUTIONAL* 

People  v.  Howe,  Court  of  Special  Sessions,  Oct.  31,  1906 

PER  CURIAM. — The  defendant  pleaded  guilty  to  an  informa- 
tion charging  him  with  violation  of  the  provisions  of  section 
77  of  the  Labor  Law  in  that,  during  the  week  between  the 
24th  day  of  September  and  the  ist  day  of  October,  1906,  in 
the  County  of  New  York,  he  unlawfully  did  employ,  and 
permit,  and  suffer  to  work  in  and  in  connection  with  a  cer- 
tain factory  a  certain  female,  one  Mary  Seeback,  for  the 
period  of  more  than  sixty  hours  in  said  week.  The  defendant 
further  pleaded  guilty  to  two  other  informations  charging  him 
with  a  violation  of  the  provisions  of  the  same  law  in  respect 
of  two  other  females. 

Summary  inquiry  was  had  in  each  of  these  cases  which 
developed  the  fact  that  the  factory  referred  to  in  the  in- 
formation was  a  steam  laundry,  and  that  each  of  the  females 
alleged  to  have  been  employed  illegally  was  an  adult. 

Defendant  thereupon,  through  counsel,  moved  in  arrest 
of  judgment  on  the  ground  that  section  77  of  the  Labor  Law, 
so  far  as  it  attempted  to  restrict  the  right  to  employ  female 
labor  in  a  factory  more  than  60  hours  in  a  week  or  the  right 
of  females  to  labor  more  than  60  hours  in  any  one  week  is 

*  New  York  State  Department  of  Labor,  Bulletin  No.  31,  De- 
cember, 1906,  p.  484. 

256 


SIXTY-HOUR   LAW   HELD   CONSTITUTIONAL 

unconstitutional.  He  cited  Lochner  r.  State  of  New  York, 
198  U.  S.,  45. 

This  court  has  already  declared  that  portion  of  section  77 
of  the  Labor  Law  which  prohibits  employment  in  a  factory  of 
any  female  after  9  o'clock  at  night  and  before  6  o'clock  in 
the  morning  to  be  unconstitutional,  (People  v.  Williams, 
N.  Y.  Law  Journal,  Aug.  10,  1906),  and  defendant  seeks  to 
establish  the  unconstitutionality  of  the  act  in  its  further 
restriction  of  the  number  of  hours  a  week  during  which  a 
female  may  be  employed. 

The  decision  in  the  Williams  case  rested  solely  upon  the 
ground  that  that  part  of  the  law  there  invoked  could  not  be 
considered  as  purely  a  health  regulation,  and  as  such  within 
the  police  power  of  the  state,  and,  as  was  decided  in  the  Loch- 
ner case,  that  it  was  an  "unreasonable,  unnecessary,  and  arbi- 
trary intereference  with  the  right  of  the  individual  to  his 
personal  liberty  or  to  enter  into  those  contracts  in  relation 
to  labor  which  may  seem  to  him  appropriate  or  necessary 
for  the  support  of  himself  and  his  family." 

There  is  a  distinction  between  a  law  which  prohibits  the 
employment  of  a  woman  for  the  slightest  period  of  time 
during  certain  hours  and  one  which  limits  the  number  of 
hours  in  a  day  or  a  week  during  which  she  may  be  employed 
at  factory  work.  A  law  which  attempts  to  limit  the  number  of 
hours  of  labor  of  a  woman  employed  in  a  factory,  may  well 
be  a  health  regulation  and  a  proper  legislative  exercise  of 
the  state's  police  power.  There  has  been  no  adjudication  of 
this  law  by  the  appellate  courts  of  this  state.  The  courts  of 
last  resort  in  four  other  states,  however,  have  passed  upon 
this  question  of  the  hours  of  labor  of  women  under  statutes 
and  constitutional  provisions  quite  similar  to  those  under 
consideration.  In  Massachusetts  (Commonwealth  v.  Hamil- 
ton Manufacturing  Co.,  120  Mass.,  383);  in  Nebraska, 
(Wenhan  v.  State,  91  Northwest  Rep.,  421);  and  in  Washing- 
ton, (State  of  Washington  v.  Buchanan,  29  Wash.,  Rep.,  602), 
the  courts  upheld  the  constitutionality  of  acts  which  limited 

17  257 


WOMEN    IN  THE    BOOKBINDING  TRADE 

the  number  of  hours  during  which  women  labor  in  factories 
in  those  several  states.  In  Illinois  (Richie  v.  People,  155 
Ills.,  98),  the  Supreme  Court  of  that  state  declared  a  similar 
act  to  be  unconstitutional.  The  weight  of  authority,  therefore, 
seems  to  be  favorable  to  the  constitutionality  of  a  law  which 
limits  the  number  of  hours  in  a  day  or  week  that  a  woman 
may  be  employed  at  work  in  a  factory. 

There  is  nothing  in  the  Lochner  case,  reported,  which 
indicates  the  sex  of  the  employe,  who  it  was  alleged  was 
required  to  work  more  than  sixty  hours  a  week.  We  know 
that  the  person  in  that  case  was  an  employe  in  a  bakery 
or  confectionery  establishment.  Defendant's  counsel  urges 
that  the  decision  of  the  United  States  Supreme  Court  in  the 
Lochner  case  is  applicable  here.  The  Lochner  case,  how- 
ever, did  not  turn  upon  the  sex  of  the  person  employed, 
but  upon  the  nature  of  the  employment.  The  issue  directly 
in  point  here  is  that  of  sex.  It  is  an  issue  which  has  not  yet 
been  presented  to  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States, 
but  as  has  been  said,  the  weight  of  authority  being  for  the 
constitutionality  of  the  act  in  question,  this  court  is  con- 
strained to  deny,  and  does  deny,  the  motion  in  arrest  of  judg- 
ment. 


258 


INDEX 


INDEX 


ACCIDENT  LIABILITY:  increases 
with  overwork;  its  relation 
to  legal  regulation  of  work- 
ing day,  146 

ADVERTISEMENTS  FOR  BINDERY 
WOMEN:  by  month  and 
branch  of  trade,  no;  by 
processes  mentioned,  108 

AGE  OF  WOMEN:  as  evidence  of 
length  of  service,  99;  mini- 
mum, at  which  learners  are 
employed,  78;  minimum, 
named  by  trade  union,  196; 
10  per  cent  under  sixteen 
years,  219 

AKRON,  OHIO:  strike,    180 

ALLIANCE  EMPLOYMENT  B  URE AU  : 
co-operation  with  investiga- 
tors, 7 

AMERICAN  FEDERATION  or 
LABOR,  174,  227 

ANCIENT  ART  OF  BOOKBINDING, 

14-17 

APPRENTICES  AND  LEARNERS: 
ages,  77,  78,  196;  edition 
bindery  best  place  for 

— "~  learners,  202;  employers' 
attitude  toward,  196,  205- 
207,  210-217;  inexperienced 
worker  employed  in  busy 
seasons,  200;  joining  the 
union,  186,  187;  magazine 
bindery  work,  202;  methods 
in  binderies,  statements  by 
girls,  197-205;  proportion 
of,  in  relation  to  experienced 


workers,  186,  196;  special- 
ists, 199;  supervision  by 
local  unions,  185-188,  202; 
types  of  learners,  197;  wages, 
76-78,  186,  187,  202-204 

ARBITRATION  CONTRACT:  be- 
tween local  unions  and 
Bookbinders'  League,  182 

ART  BOOKBINDERS,  45,  46,  213 


BLANKBOOK  BINDERIES:  num- 
ber of  women  in  1910,  34; 
number  of  women  by  season 
of  greatest  activity,  104; 
steadiest  employment  in, 
107;  work  of,  23 

BOOKBINDER:  typical,  46 

BOOKBINDERS'  LEAGUE:  em- 
ployers' organization  in  New 
York,  agreement  concerning 
hours  and  wages,  179;  arbi- 
tration contract  with  local 
unions,  182 

BOOKBINDING:  Ancient  art  of, 
14-17 

BOOKBINDING  ESTABLISHMENTS: 
conditions  in  the  workroom, 
147-150,  221,  222;  diffi- 
culties of  investigating,  9; 
dull  seasons,  number  of 
women  laid  off,  in  different 
types  of  binderies,  107; 
number  in  New  York,  by 
nature  of  products,  1910,  26; 
overtime  hours,  employers' 
statements,  140;  reorgani- 


261 


INDEX 


zation,  transfer  of  workers 
and  loss  of  positions,  as  the 
result  of  introducing  new 
machines,  51-70,  112,  189; 
seasons  of  greatest  activity, 
periods  of  maximum  em- 
ployment, 104,  105;  typical 
binderies,  showing  women's 
work,  39-48;  violations  of 
law  restricting  hours  of 
work,  statistics,  141.  See 
also  Employers 

BOOKBINDING  PROCESSES:  ad- 
vertisements, processes  men- 
tioned in,  1 08;  changes,  with 
development  of  machinery, 
39;  details,  20-24,  38;  hard 
processes,  statements  of  girls, 
151-156.  See  also  Hand 
Work;  Machine  Work 

BOOKBINDING  TRADE:  ancient 
history,  14-17;  branches  of 
the  trade,  24-25;  number  of 
binderies  in  each  branch,  in 
New  York,  26;  capital 
invested,  value  of  products, 
etc.,  1900-1905,  in  New 
York,  27;  characteristics 
are  irregularity  of  work  and 
frequent  change  in  condi- 
tions, 48;  employment  bu- 
reaus to  assist  girls  in  finding 
positions,  126-128;  employ- 
ment registry  of  Local  43, 
1 88 ;  future  of  women's  work 
is  problematical,  70,  231- 
236;  history  of  early  days, 
14-20;  irregularity  of  em- 
ployment, 101-132;  out- 
look for  better  conditions, 
219-236;  position  of  worker 
and  impossibility  of  her 
modifying  conditions  of  em- 
ployment, 1 69-1 73 ;  problems 
of  the  specialist  and  of  the 
untrained  worker,  207;  re- 
lation to  other  occupations 
for  women,  3,  4;  restric- 
tions on  entrance  to  trade, 


195,  196;  second  to  cigar 
making  as  trade  for  women, 
3;  specialization  in  the 
bindery,  result  of  use  of 
machines,  57,  61-70,  185, 
1 86;  standards,  proper, 
changes  required  to  establish, 
230-236;  summary  of  con- 
ditions, 219-236;  transfer 
of  women  and  of  women's 
work,  51-70,  112,  189; 
women's  work  in  the  binder- 
ies, 38-71.  See  also  Hours; 
Statistics;  Wages;  Work  of 
Women  in  the  Binderies 


CAPITAL  INVESTED:  value  of 
products,  etc.,  1900-1905, 
in  New  York,  27 

CAREY,  MATHEW,  19,  31 

CHARTS:  periods  of  work  and 
idleness  of  girl,  124;  weekly 
hours  of  girl,  145 

CHILDREN:  employment  of,  196, 
231 


DEVINE,  EDWARD  T. :  on  employ- 
ment bureaus,  126 

DISPLACED     WORKERS,     51-56, 
112, 189 

DRIFTERS:  among  working  girls, 
responsibility  of  the  bindery, 
200,  201 

DULL  SEASON  :  proportion  of 
women  laid  off,  107;  loss 
of  time  because  of,  118 


EARNINGS.     See  Wages 

EDITION  BINDERIES,  24,  26: 
best  place  for  learners,  202; 
machine  methods,  work  of 
women,  39-42;  number  of 
women  in,  1910,  34;  num- 


262 


INDEX 


her  by  season  of  greatest 
activity,  104;  piece-work 
system  of  payment,  74; 
training  of  apprentices,  203, 
204 

EIGHT-HOUR  DAY:  demand  by 
trade  unions  in  1907,  177- 
181 

EMPLOYERS  :  attitude  toward  the 
training  of  women  book- 
binders, 196,  205-207,  210- 
217;  complexity  of  his 
trade  relations,  13;  con- 
sideration for  workers,  dif- 
ferences, 221;  efforts  to 
remedy  irregularity  of  em- 
ployment, 129;  power  and 
responsibility  for  welfare  of 
women,  233;  prosecution 
for  violation  of  law  and  the 
suspended  sentence,  157, 
158,  167;  violations  of  law 
restricting  hours  of  work, 
135,  136,  141 

EMPLOYMENT  BUREAUS  :  to  serve 
as  clearing  houses,  126-128 

EMPLOYMENT  REGISTRY:  of  trade 
union,  188 

EVENING  SCHOOL  CLASSES  IN 
BOOKBINDING:  considered 
not  feasible  by  practical 
bookbinders,  210-217 


FACTORY  LAWS.  See  Law  Con- 
cerning Labor 

FAMILY  STATUS  :  of  women  book- 
binders, 87 

FATHERS.    See  Parents 

FATIGUE:  caused  by  long  periods 
of  work,  147-157,  225,  226 

FEMALE  IMPROVEMENT  SOCIETY: 
first  federation  of  working 
women's  organizations,  19 


FUTURE  OF  WOMEN'S  WORK: 
in  binderies,  is  problem- 
atical, 70,  231-236 

GAINE,  HUGH:  binding  establish- 
ment in  New  York,  1752, 17 

GOLD  LEAF  LAYERS,  175:  ap- 
prenticeship, 187 ;  wages, 
183,  187 

GOLDMARK,  JOSEPHINE:  on  fa- 
tigue and  efficiency,  155 

GROLIER,  15 


HAND  WORK:  demand  for  wo- 
men is  limited,  213;  details, 
44-48;  evening  school  classes 
considered  not  feasible  by 
practical  bookbinders,  210- 
217;  folders  are  drifters  in 
the  trade,  121.  See  also 
Work  of  Women  in  the 
Binderies 

HEALTH  OF  WOMEN  IN  BINDER- 
IES, 147-157,  164;  legisla- 
tion for  protection,  relation 
to  welfare  of  the  race, 
Supreme  Court  opinion,  165, 
224-226 

HISTORY  OF  BOOKBINDING,  14-20 

HOME  CONDITIONS  OF  WOMEN: 
family  status,  87;  fathers, 
wages  of,  89;  mothers,  wage- 
earning,  91-95;  necessity  for 
contributions  of  bindery 
girls,  89,  90;  occupations  of 
fathers,  88;  persons  per 
room,  97;  rents  paid,  96,  97 

HOURS  OF  LABOR:  accident 
liability  increases  with  over- 
work, 146;  actual  working 
time  shown  by  reports,  134, 
144;  beginning  and  leaving 
hours,  254,  255;  chart  show- 
ing weekly  hours  of  bindery 


263 


INDEX 


girl,  145;  daily  hours  of 
work,  statistics,  138;  dan- 
gers to  girls  on  street  late 
at  night,  142,  143;  days 
longer  than  twelve  hours, 
shown  by  reports,  144; 
eight-hour  day  demand  by 
trade  unions  in  1907,  177- 
181;  eight-hour  day  of  one- 
fourth  of  women  in  shops, 
219;  fatigue  caused  by 
long  hours,  I47~i57,  225, 
226;  health  of  workers,  147- 
157,  164,  165,  224-226;  ir- 
regularity of  employment, 
101-132;  law  governing 
hours  of  labor,  133-168; 
night  work,  agreement  be- 
tween local  unions  and  Book- 
binders' League,  180;  night 
work, prohibition  of , declared 
unconstitutional  by  courts, 
158-164;  nine-hour  day  for 
women  since  October,  1912, 
*33>  I34>  noon  recess, 
length  of,  254;  Oregon  case, 
opinion  of  United  States 
Supreme  Court,  165,  224, 
225;  position  of  the  worker 
and  the  impossibility  of  her 
changing  conditions,  169- 
173;  prolonged  working  day 
not  a  universal  practice,  222 ; 
violations  of  the  law,  135, 
136,  141;  weekly  hours  of 
work,  statistics,  139,  145; 
week!}' limit, fifty-four  hours, 
134.  See  also  Irregularity 
of  Employment;  Overtime 

HUGO,  VICTOR,  17 

INDUSTRIAL  EDUCATION:  atti- 
tude of  International  Bro- 
therhood of  Bookbinders 
and  Local  43,  215,  216;  atti- 
tude of  practical  bookbin- 
ders toward  training  of 
women  binders,  196,  205- 
207,  210-217;  elements  of 


efficiency  in  manual  occupa- 
tion, 194;  evening  school 
classes  in  bookbinding  con- 
sidered not  feasible  by 
practical  bookbinders,  210- 
217;  first  step,  to  keep 
children  out  of  industry 
until  equal  to  its  demands, 
209;  schooling  as  a  neces- 
sary foundation,  207-209, 
25I~255>  women's  work  in 
bookbinding,  problem  of, 
194,  195,  205-218 

INSPECTORS:  medical,  232;  wo- 
men, 233 

INSTRUCTION.  See  Apprentices 
and  Learners;  School  Classes 

International  Bookbinder,  4,  178, 
180,  216 

INTERNATIONAL  BROTHERHOOD 
OF  BOOKBINDERS:  aims  and 
efforts,  176;  apprenticeship, 
attitude  toward,  185;  atti- 
tude toward  industrial  edu- 
cation, 215,  216;  eight-hour 
day  demand  in  1907,  177- 
181;  funds  and  benefits, 
176,  177;  membership,  174; 
organized  in  1892,  174; 
resolution  concerning  cut- 
ting and  folding  machines, 
49.  See  also  Local  43 

INVESTIGATION  BY  COMMITTEE 
ON  WOMEN'S  WORK,  RUS- 
SELL SAGE  FOUNDATION,  2; 
co-operation  of  Alliance  Em- 
ployment Bureau,  7;  field 
workers,  11-12;  foundation 
report,  6;  number  of  visits 
made  and  records  secured, 
10;  outline  of,  6-n,  239- 
248;  record  cards,  239,  245- 
248;  scope  of,  6;  time 
covered,  1908-1911,  7,  8 

IRREGULARITY  or  EMPLOYMENT, 
101-132;  census  data  of 
1905  and  its  unreliability, 


264 


INDEX 


103;  characteristic  of  the 
industry,  48;  chart  showing 
periods  of  work  and  idleness 
of  bindery  girl,  124;  de- 
moralizing and  disorganiz- 
ing effect  of,  101,  102,  124; 
difficulty  of  securing  data, 
101-103;  dull  season,  loss 
of  time  because  of,  118,  pro- 
portion of  women  laid  off 
during,  107;  employment 
bureaus  as  clearing  houses, 
a  possible  solution,  126-128; 
leaving  of  positions,  reasons, 
in,  112;  maximum  num- 
ber of  women  employed,  by 
season  of  greatest  activity, 
104,  105;  positions,  means 
of  finding,  -125,  number  held 
in  one  year,  114,  reasons 
for  leaving,  in,  112;  time 
in  one  place,  113;  time  lost 
between,  115;  responsibil- 
ity for,  129-132;  season  of 
greatest  activity,  different 
types  of  binderies,  105, 
number  of  women  employed, 
104;  solutions  of  the  prob- 
lem, discussion  of  possible, 
124-132;  specialization  of 
work  in  bindery,  effect  of, 
57,  61-70,  185,  1 86;  state- 
ments of  girls  about  wages 
and  irregular  work,  119-123; 
time  in  one  position,  113, 
loss  of,  between  positions, 
115,  loss  due  to  dull  season, 
1 1 8,  loss  due  to  failure  to 
repair  machines,  120,  loss 
in  year  from  all  causes,  117. 
See  also  Hours;  Overtime 


JOB  BINDERIES:  details  of  work, 
24,  26;  number  of  women, 
by  season  of  greatest  activ- 
ity, 104,  in  1910,  34;  time 
or  week  methods  of  pay- 
ment, 74 


LABOR  DEPARTMENT,  STATE: 
responsibility  of,  233 

LAW  CONCERNING  LABOR:  chil- 
dren, employment  of,  196; 
difficulty  of  enforcing  the 
law,  135-137;  European 
conditions,  131,  166;  Fac- 
tory and  Workshops  Act 
in  England,  131;  Katie 
Mead  Case,  court  deci- 
sions, 159-164;  New  York 
state,  133,  134,  157,  174; 
night  work,  prohibition  con- 
sidered unconstitutional, 
court  decisions,  158-164; 
Oregon  case,  165,  224-226; 
overtime  work  without  vio- 
lating the  law,  135;  possi- 
bilities of  legislation,  to 
improve  conditions,  132; 
prosecution  for  violation  of 
the  law,  and  the  suspended 
sentence,  157,  158,  167; 
relation  of  legislation  to  the 
welfare  of  the  race,  Oregon 
case,  165,  224-226;  sixty- 
hour  restriction  in  employ- 
ment of  women  in  factories 
in  New  York  state  held  to 
be  constitutional,  258;  Su- 
preme Court  decision,  165, 
224-226;  violations  of  the 
law,  135, 136, 141 

LEARNERS.  See  Apprentices  and 
Learners 

LEAVING  OF  POSITIONS:  reasons. 


LOCAL  ALLIED  PRINTING  TRADES 
COUNCILS:  control  use  of 
trade  union  label,  177 

LOCAL  22:  includes  women  gold 
leaf  layers,  175,  187 

LOCAL  43,  BINDERY  WOMEN'S 
UNION:  apprenticeship  con- 
ditions, 185-188;  arbitra- 


265 


INDEX 


tion  contract  with  Book- 
binders' League,  182;  atti- 
tude toward  industrial  edu- 
cation, 215,  216;  construc- 
tive business  ability,  190, 
19 1 ;  eight-hour  day  demand 
in  1907,  178-181;  employ- 
ment registry,  188;  fees  and 
dues,  175;  important  factor 
in  improving  woman's  con- 
dition, 193;  joining,  con- 
ditions of,  187;  membership, 
175,  187;  office  and  officers, 
175;  organized  in  1895,  175; 
purpose  of  organization,  169; 
results  accomplished,  193; 
scope  of  its  activities,  185; 
transfer  of  workers,  require- 
ment of  the  union,  189; 
wage  scale,  183,  184;  work 
of,  176 

LONDON  SOCIETIES  OF  JOURNEY- 
MEN BOOKBINDERS,  154 

Loss  OF  TIME.    See  Time 


MACHINE  WORK:  attitude  of 
employers  toward  purchas- 
ing of  machines,  57-62; 
automatic  machine,  40; 
changes  in  machinery  result 
in  reorganization,  transfer 
of  workers,  and  loss  of  posi- 
tions, 51-70,  112,  189;  com- 
bination machine,  50;  devel- 
opment of  machine  binding, 
40,  49;  displaced  workers 
and  the  machines,  changes 
in  earning  power,  50-56, 112, 
189;  drop-roll  folding  ma- 
chine, 40;  editionbindery,39~ 
42;  effect  on  binding  pro- 
cesses, 39;  folding  machine, 

40,  49;    gathering  machine, 

41,  50;    inserting  machine, 
49;    lack  of  promptness  in 
repairing    machines    causes 
operator  loss  of  time,   120; 
magazine    bindery,    42-44; 


pasting  machine,  49;  point 
machine,  40;  sewing  ma- 
chine demands  greatest  skill, 
47,  50;  specialization  in  the 
bindery,  result  of  use  of 
machines,  57,  61-70,  185, 
186;  trade  union's  attempt 
to  protect  workers  against 
loss,  189;  understanding  of 
hand  work  necessary,  46; 
wages,  changes  in,  due  to 
change  in  machines,  51-56, 
112,  189;  wire-stitching 
machine,  50.  See  also  Work 
of  Women  in  the  Binderies 

MAGAZINE  BINDERIES:  details, 
24,  26;  learners,  202;  ma- 
chine methods,  work  of 
women,  42-44;  number  of 
women  in,  1910,  34 

MARTINEAU,  HARRIET,  18 

MEAD,  KATIE:  decision  of  courts 
concerning  night  work,  158- 
164 

MOTHERS.     See  Parents 


NAMES  OF  BINDERY  GIRLS:  how 
secured,  10 

NATIONAL  ASSOCIATION  OF  MAN- 
UFACTURERS: welfare  work, 
227 

NATIONAL  CONFERENCE  OF 
CHARITIES  AND  CORREC- 
TION: platform  of  industrial 
minimums,  228 

NATIVITY:  of  bindery  women, 
35-37 

NEW  YORK  CITY:  early  printing 
and  binding  establishments, 
17,  18;  heart  of  the  indus- 
try about  City  Hall,  27 


266 


INDEX 


New  York  World:  advertise- 
ments for  bindery  women, 
108,  no 

NIGHT  WORK:  agreement  be- 
tween local  unions  and 
Bookbinders'  League,  180; 
prohibition  of,  declared  un- 
constitutional by  courts, 
158-164 

NINE-HOUR  DAY:  for  women, 
since  October,  1912,  133,  134 

NUMBER  OF  BOOKBINDERS.    See 

Statistics 


OLIVER,  THOMAS:  on  diseases 
of  occupation,  155 

OREGON  CASE:  opinion  of  United 
States  Supreme  Court,  165, 
224-226 

OUTLOOK:  for  better  conditions, 
219-236 

OVERTIME:  agreement  between 
local  unions  and  Bookbind- 
ers' League,  179,  180,  188; 
girls'  reports,  142-145;  ille- 
gal and  not  illegal  overtime, 
140;  law  of  employment  in 
New  York  state,  133-168; 
reports  of  1887  and  1907, 
conditions  not  bettered,  i,  2; 
three-fourths  of  the  binder- 
ies, overtime  in,  220;  with- 
out violating  the  law,  135. 
See  also  Irregularity  of  Em- 
ployment 

PAMPHLET  BINDERIES:  details, 
24,  26;  number  of  women  in, 
1910,  34;  by  season  of 
greatest  activity,  104 

PARENTS:  of  bindery  women, 
nativity,  36;  occupations 
of  fathers,  88;  wage-earn- 
ing mothers,  91-95;  wages 
of  fathers,  89 


PAYMENT  FOR  WORK.  See  Wages 

PAYNE,  ROGER:  his  bill  for 
binding,  14,  15 

PHILADELPHIA:  and  Mathew 
Carey,  18,  19,  31 

PIECE-WORK  METHOD  OF  PAY- 
MENT, 73,  74,  183 

POSITIONS:  means  of  finding, 
125;  number  held  in  one 
year,  114;  reasons  for  leav- 
ing, in,  112;  time  in  one 
place,  113;  time  lost  be- 
tween, 115 

PRINTING  PRESS:  influence  of, 
on  binding  methods,  19 

PROPORTION  OF  MEN  AND  WO- 
MEN BINDERS:  in  United 
States,  1850-1900,  29,  31, 
65,  66,  69 

PROSECUTIONS:  for  violation 
of  labor  law,  and  the  sus- 
pended sentence,  157,  158, 
167 

PUBLIC  OPINION:  and  the  condi- 
tions of  women's  work,  219, 
236 

PUBLISHERS:  their  responsibil- 
ity for  conditions  in  the 
bookbinding  trade,  129-132, 
235 


RECORD  CARDS:  used  in  investi- 
gation, 239,  245-248 

REQUIREMENTS  OF  WOMEN  BIN- 
DERS: deftness,  accuracy, 
and  speed,  46-48 


SCHOOL  ATTENDANCE:  of  bin- 
dery, and  of  all  women  in 
the  trades,  207-209,  249-253 

SCHOOL  CLASSES  IN  BOOKBIND- 
ING: not  considered  feasible 


267 


INDEX 


by    practical    bookbinders, 
210-217 

SCIENTIFIC  EVIDENCE:  as  a 
basis  for  establishing  stand- 
ard for  women's  work,  224 

SEASONS:  dull  season,  propor- 
tion of  women  laid  off,  107; 
greatest  activity,  different 
types  of  binderies,  105; 
number  of  women  employed, 
104 

SEEBACK,  MARY:  case  of,  256 

SPECIALIZATION:  in  the  bindery, 
57,  61-70,  185,  186 

STANDARDS:  in  the  bookbinding 
trade,  changes  required  to 
establish  proper,  230-236; 
use  of  scientific  evidence  to 
establish,  224 

STATISTICS:  advertisements  for 
bindery  women,  by  month 
and  branch  of  trade,  no,  by 
processes  mentioned,  108; 
age  of  women  workers,  78, 
99,  196,  219;  binderies  in 
Manhattan,  by  nature  of 
products,  1910,  26,  by  season 
of  greatest  activity,  105; 
capital  invested,  value  of 
products,  etc.,  1900-1905, 
in  New  York,  27;  chart 
showing  periods  of  work  and 
idleness  of  girl,  124;  chart 
showing  weekly  hours  of 
bindery  girl,  145;  distribu- 
tion of  women  binders  in 
different  branches  of  the 
trade,  1910,  34;  distribu- 
tion of  women  binders  in 
United  States,  1900,  by 
cities,  30,  33;  dull  season, 
proportion  of  women  laid 
off,  107;  family  status  of 
women  bookbinders,  87; 
hours  of  beginning  and 
leaving  work,  254,  255; 

268 


hours  of  work,   daily    and 
weekly,  138,  139;    increase 
in  number  of  women  binders, 
1850-1900,  in  United  States, 
29>  .31,  65,  66;     leaving  of 
positions,  reasons  for,  112; 
names  of  girls  interviewed, 
sources,     10;     nativity    of 
bindery  women,  36;    noon 
recess,  length  of,  254;  num- 
ber of  persons  engaged  in 
bookbinding  in  United  States 
by  decades,  1850-1900,  29, 
31;      number     of     women 
binders,  in  different  branches 
of  the  trade  in  New  York, 
1910,  34;  number  of  women 
binders   in    New   York   in 
1900,  30,  33,  in  1912,  32; 
number  of  women  binders, 
by  season  of  greatest  activ- 
ity,   104,    105;    number  of 
women    binders   in    United 
States,  2;  persons  per  room 
in  families  of  women  binders, 
97;  positions,  111-115,  125; 
proportion     of     men     and 
women    binders    in    United 
States,  changes  in,  29,  31, 
65,  66,  69;    school  attend- 
ance of  bindery   girls,  and 
of  women  in  all  trades,  207- 
209,  249-253;    time  in  one 
position,    113;     time    lost, 
115-118;    violations  in  bin- 
deries of  law  restricting  hours 
of  work,  141;   weekly  earn- 
ings   of    men    and    women 
binders,  and  of  women  in  all 
manufacturing      industries, 
New  York  state,    1905,  79- 
82;      weekly     earnings     of 
women    during   first   week, 
76-78;     weekly    wages    of 
women  by  years  of  employ- 
ment in  the  trade,  75;  yearly 
income   of   women,  approx- 
imate, by  ages,  85;  years  of 
employment  of  women,  98, 
99 


INDEX 


STEVENSON,  ROBERT  Louis,  16 

STEWARDESS  IN  WORKROOM:  ap- 
pointed by  trade  union,  190 

STRIKES:  Akron,  Ohio,  180; 
New  York,  ordered  against 
firms  refusing  eight-hour 
day  demand,  179,  averted, 
1 80;  non-union  attempts, 
172,  173 

SUMMARY  OF  CONDITIONS:  in 
the  bookbinding  trade,  219- 
236 

SUPREME  COURT  OF  THE  UNITED 
STATES:  opinion  on  the 
relation  of  legislation  for 
protection  of  women  to  the 
welfare  of  the  race,  165, 
224,  226 


TEACHING  GIRLS  THE  TRADE, 
194-218:  attitude  of  em- 
ployers toward  the  training 
of  women  workers,  196,  205- 
207,  210-217;  attitude  of 
International  Brotherhood 
of  Bookbinders  and  Local 
43,  215, 216;  evening  school 
classes,  objections  to,  and 
reasons,  by  practical  book- 
binders, 210-217;  methods 
in  binderies,  statements  by 
girls,  197-205.  See  also 
Apprentices  aitd  Learners 

TIME:  in  one  position,  113;  loss 
between  positions,  115;  loss 
due  to  dull  season,  118; 
loss  due  to  failure  to  repair 
machines,  120;  loss  in  year 
from  all  causes,  117 

TRADE  CLASSES.  See  School 
Classes 


TRADE  UNION  LABEL:    use  of, 
177,  192 


TRADE  UNIONISM:  American 
Federation  of  Labor,  174; 
apprenticeship  conditions, 
185-188;  arbitration  con- 
tract between  trade  unions 
and  the  B  ookbinders ' 
League,  182;  Bookbinders' 
League,  an  employers'  or- 
ganization in  New  York, 
179,  181,  182;  cost  of 
struggle  for  eight-hour  day, 
1 80;  eight-hour  day  demand 
in  1907,  177-181;  gives 
workers  broad  view  of  trade 
conditions,  234;  influence 
of  the  union,  190;  Inter- 
national Brotherhood  of 
Bookbinders,  49,  174-181, 
185,  215,  216;  Local  Allied 
Printing  Trades  Councils, 
control  use  of  trade  union 
label,  177;  Local  22,  in  New 
York,  175,  187;  Local  43,  in 
New  York,  aims  and  work 
of,  169,  i74-i93>  2I5>  216; 
opposition  of  some  employ- 
ers, 191;  position  of  worker 
and  impossibility  of  her 
modifying  conditions  of  em- 
ployment, 169-173;  pur- 
pose of  local  organization, 
169;  results  of  trade  union- 
ism, 192,  193;  specializa- 
tion dangers,  provision 
against,  185,  186;  transfer 
of  workers,  requirement  of 
union,  189;  wage  scales 
adopted  through  efforts  of 
local  union,  183,  184;  work 
of  local  unions,  176-193. 
See  also  International  Bro- 
therhood of  Bookbinders; 
Local  43 

TRAINING.  See  Apprentices  and 
Learners;  School  Classes 


TRANSFER  OF  WORKERS,  51-70, 
112,  189 


269 


INDEX 


UNEMPLOYMENT.    See  Irregular- 
ity of  Employment 


VIOLATION  OF  THE  LAW:  restrict- 
ing hours  of  work,  135,  136, 
141 

WAGES  OF  WOMEN:  agreement 
between  local  union  and 
Bookbinders'  League,  179, 
1 80,  1 88;  average  wage,  220; 
changes  in  earning  power 
resulting  from  changes  in 
machines,  51-56;  compara- 
tive weekly  earnings  of 
men  and  women  binders, 
and  of  women  in  all  manu- 
facturing industries,  New 
York  state,  1905,  79-82; 
differences  in  different  estab- 
lishments, 82,  83;  difficulty 
of  securing  definite  informa- 
tion, 72,  73;  drifters  among 
working  girls,  200,  201; 
fines  and  charges,  83,  84; 
gold  leaf  layers,  183,  187; 
irregularity  of  employment, 
effect  of,  statements  of  girls, 
119-123;  learners'  wages , 
76-78,  186,  187,  202-204; 
low  wages  of  women  a  prime 
cause  of  poverty,  86;  Mass- 
achusetts minimum  wage 
board,  226;  methods  of 
payment,  73,  74,  183;  piece 
work,  73,  74,  183;  position 
of  the  worker  and  the  im- 
possibility of  her  changing 
conditions,  169-173;  scale 
arranged  through  efforts  of 
Local  Union  43,  183,  184; 
specialization  in  the  bindery, 
effect  of,  61-70,  185,  186; 
time  work,  73;  transfer  of 
workers,  requirement  of 


trade  union,  189;  week 
work,  73,  183;  weekly  earn- 
ings, comparative,  of  men 
and  women  binders,  and  of 
women  in  all  manufacturing 
industries,  New  York  state, 
I905»  79~82;  weekly  earn- 
ings during  first  week  of 
employment,  76-78;  weekly 
wages  by  years  of  employ- 
ment in  the  trade,  75; 
yearly  income,  220,  by  ages, 
85 

WORK  OF  WOMEN  IN  THE  BIN- 
DERIES, 38-71;  art  binders, 
45,  46;  confined  to  the  pre- 
paring department,  38,  46; 
displaced  workers  and  the 
changes  in  binding  machin- 
ery, 51-56,  112,  118;  early 
days  of  bookbinding,  16-19; 
edition  binderies,  39-42 ; 
future  of  work  is  problemat- 
ical, 70,  231-236;  require- 
ments are  deftness,  accuracy, 
and  speed,  46-48;  speciali- 
zation in  the  bindery  and 
its  effect  on  time  and  wages, 
61-70,  185,  1 86;  transfer  of 
work  and  workers,  51-70, 
112,  189;  typical  binderies, 
39-48;  women  stand  on 
threshold  of  bindery  trade, 
38;  years  of  employment, 
98,  99.  See  also  Appren- 
tices and  Learners;  Hand 
Work;  Hours  of  Labor; 
Irregularity;  Machine  Work; 
Overtime;  Wages 

WORKROOMS  OF  BINDERIES: 
physical  conditions,  147, 
149,  150;  shop  stewardess 
appointed  by  trade  union, 
190 


270 


THE 


SURVEY 

A  JOURNAL  OF  CONSTRUCTIVE  PHILANTHROPY 


HP  HE  SURVEY  is  a  weekly  magazine  for  all  those  who 
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As  Critic,  THE  SURVEY  examines  conditions  of  life 
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PAUL  U.   KELLOGG EDI,TOR 

EDWARD    T.    DEVINE 

JANE    ADDAMS  h    "   "   ASSOCIATE    EDITORS 

GRAHAM    TAYLOR 


1- 

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SALESWOMEN    IN 
MERCANTILE  STORES 

BY 

ELIZABETH  BEARDSLEY  BUTLER 

AUTHOR  OF  "  WOMEN  AND  THE  TRADES  " 


\>f  1SS  BUTLER  has  been  called  one  of  the  two  most 
***  competent  American  investigators  of  women  in 
industry.  In  this  work  she  takes  up  one  specific  group 
of  women  workers  —  one  of  the  largest  groups  —  and 
follows  them  through  the  year's  work  in  a  typical  city  of 
medium  size  —  Baltimore.  The  retail  shop  girls  of  Balti- 
more represent  accurately  the  great  majority  of  women 
engaged  in  this  occupation. 

The  careful  statement  of  hours  and  wages,  of  the 
varying  practice  in  regard  to  enforced  vacations,  of  the 
prospects  of  a  "  raise  "  and  of  future  advancement,  are 
most  convincing.  Not  so  much  in  the  chapter  headings 
as  in  the  titles  over  parts  of  chapters  does  the  reader  learn 
the  real  inwardness  of  shopgirl  life.  Here  we  find  sections 
under  such  significant  headings  as  Vacations  and  Arbitrary 
Discharge,  Wages  and  the  Cost  of  Living,  Night  Work 
and  Overtime,  Extra  Pay,  Fines. 

Here  are  the  facts  —  a  clear,  unbiased  statement  of 
things  as  they  are  that  might  well  serve  as  a  model  for 
the  reports  of  other  investigators. 

12mo.     Illus.     236  Pages.         POSTPAID,        I.^§ 


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